Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Girl, 12, banned from Facebook

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BRANDON -- A judge has banned a 12-year-old girl from Facebook after she used the social-networking site to threaten a pair of girls.

Crown attorney Yaso Mathu proposed the ban while defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki opposed it. He argued Facebook is a "staple" in the social lives of young people.

But Judge John Combs agreed to the ban and made it part of a one-year probation order after the young offender's own mother agreed with the Crown.

"I personally think she doesn't need Facebook, either," the mother told Combs in Brandon court.

The girl pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of uttering threats against two 13-year-old girls.

Court heard the offender and the victims had all been friends before there was a falling-out over a boy.

The offender had heard her boyfriend was "cheating" with one of the other girls who attend the same elementary school. She posted a message on Facebook that she wanted to strangle the two girls: "You have no idea how bad I want to strangle you two girls!!!! Omg! Yu just wait. Your time will come!"

One of the girl's mothers complained to police and the offender admitted making the threats.

One of the two girls who was the targeted by the threat said she feared for her safety -- she knew the girl was on probation for a previous assault and feared she'd have someone beat her.

The girl who made the threat had received a nine-month conditional discharge in August for an assault conviction.

Sieklicki said the victims of the threats provoked his client by spreading lies about her.

The girl had been bullied when she was younger and has developed a tough persona due to a rough life, Sieklicki said.

The girl also pleaded guilty Monday to assault for slapping another 13-year-old girl in the face twice Feb. 28.

Again, the girl said she was upset because the victim had spread rumours about her.

Judge Combs sentenced the girl to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service work.

She is to delete her Facebook account and can't access the site while on probation.

Combs said that -- provided she stays out of trouble, and her mother approves -- the girl can resume her Facebook activities once probation ends.

Facebook's policy is that users must be at least 13 years old to sign up. Youths can easily bypass that requirement by lying about their age when they apply online for access.


-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2013 A3

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