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First woman convicted of revenge porn receives suspended sentence (2 September 2015)

Date: 02/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, First woman convicted of revenge porn receives suspended sentence

The first woman to be convicted of revenge porn has been spared jail and received a six-week suspended sentence instead.

The Independent reports that 24-year-old Paige Mitchell from Shephall Way in Stevenage posted four explicit images of her girlfriend online after the couple had a row. The court heard the images had been sent to Mitchell by her girlfriend during their relationship. At the time of the argument they had been in a relationship for 14 months, the court heard.

Mitchell pleaded guilty to one count of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress, as well as one count of assault by beating.

Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard that the images were visible on Facebook for half-an-hour – Mitchell removed them from the website after her mother told her it was illegal to upload explicit images of others without their permission.

Chair of the bench Bette Hindmarsh told Mitchell:

“Posting the photos on the Internet was a highly vindictive invasion of privacy. It was done with the intention of humiliating and hurting your victim.”

In a witness statement, the victim said that being seen naked online had made her feel “embarrassed to walk down the street”.

“People who I didn't want to see my body have seen me,” she added. “I don't want to feel like that.”

Mitchell’s defence lawyer told the court that the images were posted online after an argument about the victim looking at other women.

The row had taken place while the victim’s one-year-old child was sleeping at Mitchell’s home on 12 May – and the couple were now reconciled and were continuing their relationship.

However, in court, Mitchell invited magistrates to impose a restraining order.

Joanna Coleman for the Crown Prosecution Service said:

“These vengeful crimes are predominantly thought of as being carried out by men.

“This sentencing will highlight that anyone can be guilty of this offence and regardless of the defendant's gender, once reported, it will be taken seriously.”

Magistrates sentenced Mitchell to six weeks for revenge porn and two weeks for common assault – both sentences were suspended for 18 months. Mitchell was also ordered to pay £345 in costs.

Revenge porn was made illegal in April this year – convictions for the offence have so far involved around a dozen men who posted explicit images of ex-partners online.

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