Lawyers urge Seibold: Hit trolls with everything you’ve got
Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold could be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, and those behind the disgusting online attacks against him could face three years in jail.
Legal experts say the ramifications for online trolls who have targeted Seibold - some of which are believed to have links to personalties inside the game - could be huge as cybercrime gurus work on tracking the origins of social media slurs, which emerged last week.
It comes as the NRL has told Seibold that they will use the full powers of the integrity unit to act against any registered player or official found to have helped cultivate the campaign.
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If he chooses to, Seibold could hit the online trolls with both civil and criminal cases.
Leading Brisbane criminal lawyer, Bill Potts said while criminal defamation is extraordinarily rare, he would be advising Seibold to hit them with everything.
"I would be urging him to both make police complaints to the federal police over the use of a carriage way, state police with respect to criminal defamation, I would be seeking restraining orders in the Supreme Court and suing them for defamation," Mr Potts said.
Mr Potts said the culprits could be charged under federal law with using a carriage service to intimidate or harass, if it is determined the rumours were purposely spread on the internet.
Both the state and federal charges have a maximum prison length of three years.
"It's not freedom of speech, it's the equivalent of yelling fire in a cinema, and burning someone's reputation to the ground," Mr Potts said.
Expert media lawyer Justin Quill says Seibold could also pursue a civil case and be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
"If it's just made up and malicious that adds to it, but it's a difficult thing to put a finger on but I would say it is without question many hundreds of thousands of dollars," Mr Quill said.
Both lawyers agree those responsible should be hit with the full face of the law and hopefully made an example out of.
"There is nothing good whatsoever that comes from trolls who just abuse or worse, make up these lies so if by his actions he can assist in that process then that would be a benefit not only to himself but to the community and society," Mr Quill said.
It is understood NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo reached out to Seibold this week to check on his welfare and assure him that the governing body would support him should experts find there has been any illegal or immoral behaviour by players or officials with links to the game.
Seibold's legal team, Howden Saggers Lawyers, say they are 90 per cent sure they are closing in on the culprits.
Originally published as Lawyers urge Seibold: Hit trolls with everything you've got