English magistrate resigns over Twitter posts

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stephen Molyneux
Image: Stephen Molyneux.

Stephen Molyneux has resigned from his post of Justice of the Peace in Shropshire, England, after a fellow magistrate reported him for posting messages about a case on the social networking website Twitter.

Professor Molyneux, an IT consultant and former mayor of Oakengates, tweeted information about bail applications on an armed robbery case. He wrote 'just about to hear application from 3 robbers from Manchster as to whether to remand or not', '1st defendant. Conspiricy [sic] to rob TSB of £500,000. Good start - wrong previous convictions presented' and 'finished hearing bail. 3 refused for planning robbery of £480,000 from Tsb [sic] in Dawley, Telford'.

Molyneux claimed nothing that he said could have prejudiced a case and he only mentioned what had been discussed in open court. He also claimed he was trying to make the criminal justice system seem more transparent. He also stated he had never tweeted whilst in court, but only in the retiring room.

He resigned after he received a letter from the Shropshire Advisory Committee, which requested a meeting.