The other day, I was fisking LMC and quoted this section and replied thus:
It sets a precedent in that the law clearly states that if you obsess over someone and refuse to just leave that person alone then your own actions are what will cause you distress. As the judge said – if you are in a shopping mall, you see someone that you don’t like and choose to approach them – you cannot then claim that they have followed you.
The judgement (and I am relying on third party descriptions here) is apparently quite the conversation on the various matters that come into play. The judgement isn’t public, so there is no way of knowing the context of that quote, or even if the judge even said it.
So excuse me if I chose to be skeptical of the world of a self-confessed court-declared liar who is distressed over the consequences of her obsession.
(Emphasis is added here)
Well, my suspicious turned out to be well founded.
In the absence of any knowledge by Ms Sperling that they were regular visitors, it could hardly be said that Ms Sperling was, by her blog posts, intruding into their space. If a person who is thought to be harassing is walking down the street alone, he cannot be said to be following stopping or accosting. If the alleged victim walks onto the road in front of the person, it could be said to be co-incidence rather than an act of following stopping or accosting. And if the victim purposefully decides to walk a street that she knew the alleged harasser frequented to “engineer” an act of following, that would be an action by the alleged victim rather than of the alleged harasser.
So there’s your quote – the judge did say that.
Now, the context.
 The same situation applies to blogs. One cannot, in my view, claim that one has been harassed if one goes to a blog site seeking out possible instances of material that may fall within s 4(1)(e). On a “communication flow” approach it is clear that the flow in fact is reversed. The material in the post is passive. The final communicative step is not in the hands of the blogger but in the hands of the reader. It would be an entirely different matter if Ms Sperling had accessed the blogs of the applicants and had posted comments on their blogs. These would have come to the attention of the applicants either as a part of their moderation of comments or, if there was no such moderation, as part of their reading of comments made on their blog. That would amount to an active intrusion into the applicants’ space and would be sufficient to fulfil the requirement of leaving material in a place where the applicant would find it.
In other words, Sperling didn’t go to Madeleine’s blog and place harassing comments. So her blogging in normal circumstances would be passive.
 In this case, however, there is an added element. Ms Sperling has a tool associated with her blog site that allows her to keep track of the IP addresses of those who visit her site. There are a number of such tools. Statcounter35 is an example. It proclaims that it can keep a track of visits to a web site and can provide statistical details including country and city of origin of contacts along with IP numbers. In a number of posts Ms Sperling prides herself in knowing who her “anonymous” posters are, and accuses Ms Brown and Ms Flannagan of being among them. Thus, by her own admission she says was aware that Ms. Brown and Flannagan visited her site, yet continued to publish posts about them. This would bring her within the limb of s 4(1)(e) of leaving the material where it will be found Ms Brown and Ms Flannagan. The applicants for their part deny that they are the anonymous visitors to Ms Sperling’s site and deny that they have downloaded material from it. They claim that Ms Sperling is wrong when she says that she has tracked them using tools associated with her blogsite.
 There are two sides to that assertion. The first is that Ms Sperling was making untrue assertions that Ms Flannagan and Ms Brown were visitors to her site and involving themselves in the comments page or downloading material. In such a situation it could not be said, if she was making the information up, that she had an expectation that Ms Brown or Ms Sperling were in fact going to see the posts she published. That does not help Ms Brown or Ms Flannagan. On the other hand Ms Sperling may have mistakenly assumed that the applicants were visiting her site and on that basis continued her posts about them in the expectation that they would see them. This seems a more plausible explanation.
So in other words, LMC’s inept use of an IP tracker meant that she was operating under the assumption that they were checking her blog, and made the harrassment active instead of passive. This meant that, rather than “just being” somewhere, she was in her own mind provoking someone, and the mall argument is, as I suspected, taken out of context.
This post is about Jacqueline (Jackie) Sperling, and is part of an ongoing series discussing her ongoing campaign of harassment and lies against lawyer Madeleine Flannagan and Ms Brown, and The Narrative – the alternate reality she presents on her blog in which she pretends to be the victim of her targets. You can read a court decision that outlines her campaign and the court’s assessment of The Narrative here.
Please do not place abusive comments on her blog, phone her, or approach her or her family as she will blame this on her victims.