R v Nimmo & Sorley (2014)

Barker, Kim (2018). R v Nimmo & Sorley (2014). In: Rackley, Erika and Auchmuty, Rosemary eds. Women's Legal Landmarks: Celebrating 100 Years of Women & the Law in the UK and Ireland. Oxford: Hart, pp. 605–610.

URL: https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/womens-l...


R v Nimmo and Sorley changed the perception of social media offences in England and Wales. The decision followed a short – but significant – period whereby social media abuses such as trolling and harassment, although increasing in number, often remained outside of the focus of the criminal law. This decision saw the first custodial sentences issued to the defendants for their sustained abusive messages made via social media platform Twitter to two women – Caroline Criado Perez and Stella Creasy – for campaigning to have women on banknotes.

It was the first decision handed down under the revised guidance on social media prosecutions from the Director of Public Prosecutions issued in light of Chambers v DPP. Without doubt, R v Nimmo and Sorley is a legal landmark in the prosecution of social media offences. However, it is also a legal landmark for women because this decision represents an important step forward in the recognition and tackling of online harassment, abuse and other forms of threatening behaviour, from which women continue to suffer disproportionately.

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