Twitter-savvy judge orders man to tweet judgment made against him every day for 30 days

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By Thomas Connelly on

Sentencing, social media-style


In a move reminiscent of the old school punishment of writing out lines, a Spanish judge has ordered a man to tweet the judgment made against him every day for 30 days.

The case — which stretches back to 2013 — has only just surfaced after the sentence was ratified. It involves a dispute between two leading figures in Spanish consumer rights.

Rubén Sánchez, a spokesman for consumer rights group Facua, alleged that Luis Pineda, who operates a rival consumer rights organisation, had sent hundreds of defamatory tweets over a period of two years.

The tweets falsely alleged that Sánchez was responsible for theft, fiscal fraud and corruption against Pineda.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the judge — ruling on the matter back in 2014 — said that Pineda had used the Twittersphere to publish “humiliating and insulting expressions and remarks” about his business rival that had “harmed his honour”.

In what will no doubt raise a few eyebrows with members of the judiciary in England and Wales, the Seville-based judge handed down a somewhat unusual sentence to Pineda.

As well as paying out over €4,000 (£2,940) in damages and deleting 57 defamatory posts, the consumer champion must also — and this is where it gets weird — tweet the ruling once a day for 30 days.

The judge argued that seeing as the damaging tweets were readily available to the public, then so should the judgment.

Pineda must send the tweets during Twitter’s peak hours in Spain, defined by the court as between 9am-2pm and 5pm-10pm. In addition to this, he must use the same Twitter account he used to send the original defamatory tweets.

In a move that shows not all members of the judiciary are out of touch with the modern world, the judge even pre-empts a possible excuse that Pineda might rely upon for not following through with the tweets.

In order to circumvent Twitter’s 140 character limit Pineda must use a “tool created to increase the number of permitted characters” — such as TwitLonger or indeed a good old-fashioned blog — to allow the full judgment to be published on the social media site.

Despite the unusual sentence gaining the approval of a provincial court in Seville last week, Pineda is so far refusing to comply. Taking to Twitter to respond to questions relating to the unusual sentence, he confirmed he would be appealing and would “nunca” (never) tweet the sentence.