Best Legal Analysis http://2040infolawblog.com/2013/12/31/keeping-mum/
When the Italian C-sec/adoption case hit the news it was debated on Mumsnet.
One of the posters debating the case was the MP John Hemming, posting under his own name, an account verified by Mumsnet HQ.
Things got..... interesting.
Mr. Hemming appeared unhappy that other posters were not prepared to take his word for it when it came to his sweeping statements. They kept being terribly awkward by asking for things like evidence and proof to back his statements up. In what *may* have been a fit of pique he offered to email a poster proof.
She received a page from a legal document.
The case was still ongoing.
Names were not redacted.
Mumsnetters did this...
<sharp intake of breath>
Among the posters trying to introduce Mr John Hemming to the basics of what debate actually is, were a number of Italian speakers who challenged his assertions as per the Italian court being in agreement with him. In what *may* have been an attempt to "get one over" on the declared Italian speakers Mr Hemming declared his own command of Italian to be adequate enough to read and discuss an extract from a legal document pertaining to the mother in the original news story.
He posted the extract on Mumsnet.
The extract was from a document that was never intended by the court to be made public. When he posted the extract he posted the names of Alexandra Pacchieri's baby in England,whose name was protected by a court order, and both of her sisters in Italy. Other identifying information about the three children was also included.
Mumsnet HQ deleted the post as soon as they heard about the contents.
Mr Hemming went "Oppsie! It's OK, doesn't count cos I didn't mean to and anyway my Italian skills have retrospectively evaporated"
If his declaration of "Opps!" is to be taken at face value, he had evidently not made any attempt to have the extract checked for origin, status and content prior to posting it for public viewing on Mumsnet.
Mumsnetters went ....
<even bigger sharper intake of breath>
And took action.
Essex Local Authority, Tim Farron [Senior Liberal Democrat] and the court of Judge Munby (the officiating judge in UK) were informed of what had occurred. Additionally, the Guardian newspaper was made aware of the breach of confidentiality by a serving MP
Mr Hemming kept on posting. His posts aroused suspicions that he was Mumsnetting under the influence. When asked directly if he was drunk he replied, "I am not sober, but I am right".
Mumsnetters did not...
<fall over in shock>
...when they saw that, because it was ever so slightly obvious.
Mumsnetters were increasingly dismayed by poor political standards of conduct running riot over their thread by this point.
Mr John Hemming then posted the twitter handles of Mumsnetters on the thread. Effectively outing a number of them given that some of the twitter handles were clearly in the posters' real names.
Mr Hemming's post containing Mumsnetters' real names was swiftly deleted by MNHQ. And he went quiet.
Due to John Hemming's sudden disappearance Mumsnet HQ was asked if he had been banned.
They confirmed that Mr Hemming has the dubious honour of being the first MP to ever have had his account banned for a week while they decide what the best course of action is.
We are astounded that a serving MP is disregarding the law in such a blatant fashion, and is attempting to intimidate other posters by revealing their real life identities. Contrary to Mr Hemming's repeated assertions, there are often very good reasons for not releasing the names and the details of those involved in a family court case. In many cases, this secrecy is maintained to protect the innocent - the children. For a member of our parliament to reveal details of these cases, that he has only become party to due to his work as an MP, is extremely worrying.
For background of the original news story as it was first reported, and how it morphed as actual facts came to light please see: http://www.headoflegal.com/2013/12/04/booker-hemming-and-the-forced-caesarian-case-a-masterclass-in-flat-earth-news/