Further Perils Of Online Dating

Author:Mr Neil Guthrie
Profession:Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The plaintiff in AS v Murray, [2013] NSWSC 733, had some online fun, but it didn't end up well. A person who identified himself or herself as Felicity Jones (on the internet, no one knows you're a dog) sent AS an e-mail at work, threatening to reveal the latter's usage of an online dating service to his wife, children and employer if the sum of AUS$26,666 was not provided post-haste. The extortionist clearly had 'considerable information' about AS, presumably from having hacked AS's computer and mobile (or perhaps from a bit of sexting with AS?). AS paid up but later received a demand for an additional $40,000. AS engaged a computer expert who traced the e-mail demand to the sender's ISP and mobile phone provider, eventually identifying the sender. A search order was obtained from the New South Wales court and the Felicity Jones e-mails located in a 'sent' folder. AS then sued the sender, basing his claim on the old -- but not frequently pleaded -- tort of intimidation.

AS's claim was successful. Ball J of the NSW supreme court found that the facts clearly established that the sender of the e-mails was an extortionist and there was no reason...

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