Roast Busters case highlights need for Cyber-Bullying Bill

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Off the back of the latest Independent Police Conduct Authority Report into police handling of the "Roast Busters" case, a bill aiming to curb cyber-bullying has passed its second reading in Parliament. 

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill would see a range of measures introduced to help prevent cyber-bullying and harassment. 

Police were heavily criticised in their initial handling of the ‘Roast Busters’ case in terms of how victims were dealt with and enquiries were handled.  The group which targeted young girls online with videos naming and degrading them bought the issue of cyber-bullying to the fore yet again in New Zealand. 

According to Justice Minister, Amy Adams, “Harmful digital communications include emails, texts and social media posts that people use to intimidate others, spread damaging or degrading rumours and publish invasive and distressing photographs.”

Recently, the Independent Police Conduct Authority released the findings of its investigation into the Police handling of the alleged offending by the Roast Busters.

It identified a number of significant deficiencies in the original Police investigations into the alleged offending by the group of young men in Auckland.  The full article can be viewed here.

Also a petition launched by community group ‘ActionStation’ is calling for Police to re-open their investigation into the Roast Busters case.  The group represents over 30,000 New Zealanders with a goal to help victims find justice.  The full article can be viewed here.

Labour’s Clare Cullen said cyber-bullying was a scourge and while Labour supported the intent of the bill to give victims quick redress, but it did not do that and was full of holes. 

Ms Curran said if the bill progressed to committee stage, Labour would work with the Government to make amendments then.

The bill completed its second reading by 77 to 43 with National, Greens, Māori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.