DAILY OBSERVER: Social media personality Washington Bramble has filed for a stay of proceedings as she challenged the constitutionality of the charges against her which allege she insulted former Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin online.
Bramble allegedly uploaded a Facebook video on February 8 and 9 2022, making insulting posts about Martin, with the first posted after health inspectors visited her home following a neighbour’s report that Bramble had apparently thrown excreta onto their property.
Bramble is representing herself in the matter which is being presided over by Justice Ann-Marie Smith. Bramble had previously made it clear that she wanted the case to be thrown out.
She believes that Section 4 of the Electronic Crimes Act infringed on her constitutional rights, including freedom of speech.
Section 4 states that “a person shall not intentionally, without lawful excuse or justification send by means of an electronic system – (a) information that is offensive or threatening; (b) information which is false, causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such electronic system or an electronic device; or (c) electronic mail or an electronic message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience, or to deceive or mislead the recipient as to the origin of such message”.
A person who commits an offence under the section would be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $200,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both, or a conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or both.
The Constitutional Court will hear Bramble’s application and issue a decision before criminal proceedings against her may continue.
Bramble’s case was sent to the High Court last year after the Magistrate’s Court found that there was enough evidence against her to commit the matter to the higher court.
Correction October 31 2023: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that Justice Ann-Marie Smith said she intended to throw out the case. That reference has been updated to reflect the fact it was Bramble who wanted the case thrown out.
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