Monday, September 15, 2008

6-Month Jail Term For Death Threats On Facebook

Should a person get scared if someone makes a death threat against them on Facebook or any other social networking site? What if the death threat came from the widow of a slain underworld crime figure? What can the law do to protect you?

In the case of 50-year old Melbourne woman, Wendy Peirce, the answer is a sentence of six months' jail. She pleaded guilty to two charges of threatening to inflict serious injury and one charge of stalking her late husband's lovers.

In February, Peirce had threatened two women, both of whom had been in relationships with her late husband, Victor Peirce, who was shot dead in Melbourne's underworld war in 2002. At 42-years of age, he was shot several times as he sat in his car outside a Telstra shop in Bay St, Port Melbourne on May 1, 2002. Police believe gangland hitman Andrew "Benji" Veniamin was the killer. Veniamin himself died after being shot in self-defence by Carlton Crew member MIck Gatto in 2004 in a Carlton restaurant.

According to evidence, Wendy Peirce sent one of the women that she threatened a message on social networking website Facebook threatening to "blow your f...ing head off".

The message went on to say, "Don't think for one moment that I haven't forgotten you and will hunt u down like a mangy maggot that u are. That's not threats, that's a promise. Wendy Peirce".

In sentencing her to 6-months imprisonment, Melbourne Magistrate Dan Muling commented, "The concern is that the nature of the threats are extremely troubling and outrageous. It shows complete lack of regard for the law, in that the victims in each case must have been extremely frightened and worried about the potential."

As an aside, Peirce also pleaded guilty to one charge of driving a motor vehicle while having her licence suspended. For this, ehs received a A$750 fine.

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