Dorset police have issued the following advice to people on Facebook concerning the Samantha Henderson murder investigation
Dorset Police appreciates the help of the public, and people on Facebook particularly, for sharing important information that has assisted this investigation.
We also understand that many people will want to express their upset and offer sympathies to Samantha’s family at this sad time.
However, we wanted to make sure you knew that certain legal issues apply now that a person has been charged with her murder. We would hate for anyone to accidentally impact the investigation or court case by posting a well-intended but inappropriate comment.
In short, general comments expressing your sympathies and sadness or offering condolences to Samantha’s family will not cause any problems. Comments about the man who has been charged or guessing what could have happened may cause problems in the future. This is particularly the case if you personally know the people involved or if you have provided any information to the police that may form part of a court case.
This is the reason why the police do not release all the information we know and why the media are cautious about what they report. However, since social media has become popular in recent years, it is a new consideration for police forces and the courts about what members of the public write.
It is a national issue that Dorset Police is making you aware of. We do not want to control or unduly worry you, or appear ungrateful for all your help so far. More detailed information is available here: www.gov.uk/government/news/attorney-general-to-warn-facebook-and-twitter-users-about-contempt-of-court
Dorset Police is not actively monitoring or editing your comments. Under Facebook’s terms and conditions we are not the publisher of comments made by other people on our page or legally responsible for them. Therefore, we are just advising you to comment appropriately, as you are legally responsible for what you write.
Thank you again for your ongoing support to this investigation and for reading this advice.