Blog Power and Digital Kids

The Johnathan Trial is an absolutely shocking story. Three teenagers have been accused of the brutal slaying of a 12-year old Toronto boy. The older brother of the boy and two of his friends were charged with first-degree murder. The murdered boy is known in court as Johnathan hence the Johnathan Trial.

A mistrial was declared because a key witness may have perjured herself by posting information about the case on the web. The witness was the girlfriend of one of the boys. She taped a conversation where the boys talked about planning to kill the older brother’s family. Her testimony was crucial to demonstrate evidence of a plan to murder. Without her testimony, the case could not support first-degree murder charges against all of the boys.

Johnathan’s small body was found in his home basement’s crawl space on Nov. 25, 2003 with 71 cut, hack or stab wounds.

The judge said a National Post story revealing the star Crown witness’s blog and posting on a vampire web site called her testimony into question, and called a mistrial.

None of the lawyers involved in the case had uncovered her blog or her postings on a vampire web site and they were not aware of the site’s existence until the National Post story was published after the jury began deliberations.

Blogs have power. And it is surprising that no one thought to search the web as part of the research for this case. Our youth have grown up in a digital age and clearly, the generational gap on the use of technology, can cause serious issues. Did anyone check the PCs of the accused and their instant messenger logs, browser caches, etc?

I remember being told some years back that technology would achieve a very significant objective: everyone can know what anyone knows. You just have to know how to find it.

Google is really not that hard to use.

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