Mary John faces up to 6 years in jail if found guilty in the High Court

REAL NEWS: *Prosecution opts to pursue High Court trial of social activist on Electronic Crimes charge*

Social activist Mary John has been warned not to use her social media pages to commit any offence that contravenes the Electronic Crimes Act or her bail will be revoked.

John appeared in the St. John’s Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning, January 4, before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh, who revoked her previous station bail and imposed a bail sum of $10,000, with a cash deposit of $2,500 and two sureties.

John has to report to the nearest police station every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and to surrender her travel documents.

She will return to court on March 24 for her committal proceedings.

John is accused of spreading false messages via her social media page with the use of an electronic system.

The matter could be tried either in the Magistrates Court or the High Court. However, the prosecution has opted to proceed with the charge indictably, which means it will be sent to the High Court for trial before a judge only or by judge and jury.

The penalty for this offence is $250,000 or three years in prison – or both, if tried in the lower court. However, the penalty increases to $500,000 or six years in prison, or both if tried in the High Court.

John stands accused of circulating false information about a young woman in relation to the murder of Jane Finch, who was found dead in her Piccadilly home last October.

John posted the young woman’s name and her photograph, and these made the rounds via social-media platforms.

The woman later reported the matter to the Police and investigations were launched, leading to John being charged.

In her own defense, John has said that she removed the post from her Facebook page immediately after learning she had identified the wrong person.

However, she says that, in the intervening time, her post was screen-shot and then circulated.

John’s supporters tell REAL News the Police “want to shut her down.”

They note that she has often used her social-media presence to highlight the inadequacies of the justice system and, in particular, the shortcomings of police investigations.

John, herself, has complained of official foot-dragging in instances where she has been threatened with violence.

Yet, she says, in this instance, there has been a rush to “nail her to the cross.”

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