Seeing Is Not Always Believing

By Paul Hunt at 00:00

As the evolution of technology provides us with greater efficiency and diversity it also opens the door to increasing communication channels; the capabilities of reaching people is vast. A triumph for technology you might say!

However, our tech-savvy world has also opened its door to increased opportunities for the exchange of unwanted communications, whether this is an abusive text message or a threatening email for example. This can be particularly prevalent during, or following, the breakdown of a relationship where emotions can run high.

I have seen many cases where the inappropriate use of text messages, email, social media, are unfortunately used all too frequently to harass and abuse. Sadly, this is not an unusual situation.

I recently represented a client who had been served with a Non Molestation Order. The statement from his wife in support of this contained a great deal of detail regarding threatening and abusive text messages, which she alleged he had sent to her. In her statement she includes specific dates and times of these messages.

From the outset, my client denied all knowledge of such messages, and was adamant they were not sent from him. Notwithstanding this he had been arrested and spent time in custody for the alleged breach of the Non Molestation Order. 

It subsequently transpired that the text messages which appeared to emanate from my client’s phone had alarmingly been created by another person using a downloadable “app”.

The fact that such a technological device existed did not appear to be known to the police officers conducting the investigation and also came as a surprise to the Court.

This is a worrying development.  So many disputes between spouses and parents often result in acrimonious exchanges of text messages. The accessibility of an “app” of this kind can do untold damage and convincing an aggrieved party that they have been the victim of a fraud is no easy task.  

It is time to be alert to such practices, take nothing for granted and remember, seeing is not always believing!

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Paul Hunt

Paul Hunt , Senior Associate

As a senior solicitor Paul is responsible for cases involving divorce or separation, children, financial and property issues and domestic violence.

He is member of Resolution panel for private children law, ancillary relief and domestic violence. Paul is also trained in Collaborative Law.

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