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Warning against shaming theft suspects on social media

Local businesses reportedly involved in the practice of naming and shaming suspected thieves on social media are being warned not to do so. In fact, if Minister of Industry, Commerce and Trade Donville Inniss had his way, the photographs and names of any suspect would not be released until that individual was found guilty.

Inniss was speaking to Barbados Today against the background of a report carried by this newspaper that some companies were reportedly losing thousands of dollars to theft every year and were taking crime prevention into their own hands by turning to social media to name alleged shoplifters and thieves.

However, the senior Government minister said while he was not aware of any particular case, supermarkets should not go down that route.

Donville Inniss

Donville Inniss

“If a supermarket posts [a picture of] someone who they feel has been shoplifting and puts it out there in the public domain, they better appreciate that a man is innocent until proven guilty and a supermarket or any place of business is not a law court. If you hold a man and name him and shame him and then he goes to court and is found innocent, they’d better be prepared to face the consequences for their actions.

“My advice to any business place in such situations is to let the police and the courts do what they have to do. Don’t take the law unto yourself. If you want to hold somebody until the police get there that is one thing but to go and put accusations out there in the public domain is wrong,” added Inniss.

“I have seen many individuals who have been found not guilty of things but the rest of society treats them as though they are the biggest criminals around. We need to revisit that situation really; this thing of blasting the photographs of accused persons and all the names and addresses, something just seems wrong about it. It doesn’t seem to me that you are getting a fair trial in the public domain,” explained Inniss.

16 Responses to Warning against shaming theft suspects on social media

  1. Regina Worrell
    Regina Worrell July 3, 2014 at 9:12 am

    And what is Donville going to do if you shame them? Put your store in the paper?

  2. Michelle Cheeseman
    Michelle Cheeseman July 3, 2014 at 9:18 am

    oh well I guess the newspapers should cease publishing photos of accused persons then stupseeeeee

  3. Gregg Moseley Clarke
    Gregg Moseley Clarke July 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

    why shouldnt you? you see it fit to put arrested persons in the news media, why not social media?

  4. Omar Watson
    Omar Watson July 3, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Should be telling the culprits to stop stealing

  5. Robert Foster
    Robert Foster July 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

    If you are in a public place and caught on camera doing good or evil, you photo can be published as a news item.

  6. Michael Rideout
    Michael Rideout July 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

    that’s ridiculous

  7. Ryan Smith
    Ryan Smith July 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I can see what he is saying but not unless one is certain that the accused is guilty.

  8. Jackie Charm Clarke
    Jackie Charm Clarke July 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Stupesssssss full of ….

  9. Dawn Franklin
    Dawn Franklin July 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Donville clearly don’t travel to far, in the USA and you go in to some stores and steal your picture is put on the wall or any available space for everyone to see.

  10. Dawn Franklin
    Dawn Franklin July 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Shame them

  11. Michelle Cheeseman
    Michelle Cheeseman July 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    so all these comments about “petty crime”. let’s here what government thinks about WHITE COLLAR CRIME!!! the silence is deafening!

  12. Ryan Henry
    Ryan Henry July 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Sometimes i wonder if the victims got any rights at all, seems like it pays more to be a crook as opposed to be law abiding,

  13. Chris Kinkaid
    Chris Kinkaid July 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Smdh! I’ll say it again…. reading comprehension is seriously lacking in this country. Now when you post pix of an individual you suspect of shop lifting but can’t prove it and they sue you what next?
    Do the correct thing, call the cops, press charges have them prosecuted.


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