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The PLEA: Cyberbullying

The PLEA: Cyberbullying

Case Studies

What can you learn from these two cases?

A.B. v Bragg Communications Inc., 2012 SCC 46

The Facts:

A 15-year-old girl found out that someone had posted a fake Facebook profile of her. The profile used her picture and a slightly modified version of her name. The picture was accompanied by unflattering comments about the girl, including sexual comments.

The girl and her father went to court to force the internet service provider to reveal who created the fake account. They wanted to sue the account’s creator for harming her reputation. However, they had no way of knowing who created the account.

The Ruling:

The Supreme Court ruled that the internet service provider must reveal who created the fake profile. There was no other way to identify the profile’s creator. The case showed that bullies cannot remain anonymous on the internet.


R v. Zhou, 2016 ONCJ 547

The Facts:

A 16-year-old boyfriend asked his 14-year-old girlfriend to take intimate photos of herself. Without her permission, he posted 10 photos to a pornographic website. People were invited to rate and comment on the photos. They were viewed 1,300 times over two years.

This caused the girlfriend extreme anxiety and depression. Her privacy was violated, and people were given the opportunity to humiliate her by making comments on the website.

The Ruling:

The boyfriend pled guilty to criminal harassment. He cooperated with the police and attended counselling to take responsibility for his actions. The judge put him on probation—meaning he was under supervision—for a year. In addition, he served a short time in prison while awaiting his sentence. He was also ordered to not communicate with his former girlfriend. The case reinforced that “sexting” is a serious crime with long-term consequences for everyone.


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