FAIR POINT: A £624 fine? It’s hardly enough

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A girl of 19 gets raped. Her attacker gets jail.

The sentence should mark an important turning point for her.

She has been believed. He is being punished and she can start rebuilding her life again, shielded by the law which kept her name out of all the newspaper and TV reports.

Only, for the victim whose rapist was a footballer, it didn’t turn out that way. Ignorant, vicious cyber bullies who couldn’t accept their hero’s demise decided to take the law in to their own hands and “name and shame” the girl Ched Evans was found guilty of raping (a verdict two Court of Appeal hearings have now upheld).

Twitter their medium, they spread vile defamation of her character - and revealed her identity.

They thought they were safe. That the mob ruled. I recall one message urging everyone to retweet the girl’s name. It said: “They can’t prosecute millions of us, can they?”

Police just had to act; a vital law protecting the most vulnerable members of society was being made a mockery of.

Nine people were fined for the offence this week. It was a ground-breaking case - one of the first to prosecute social network users. But... Only nine? So far, so many do seem to have got away with it.

And what price the further ruination of her life?

The guilty had to pay her just £624 a piece. A measly total of £2,016. Some deterrent.