After an anti-coronavirus demonstration, a Facebook post went viral at the end of February: A photo with the text “This policeman escalated during the demo in Innsbruck. An 82-year-old innocent man was knocked to the ground, arrested and interrogated for hours. “
The sentence: “Let this policeman’s face go around the world.” This face (recognizable despite the mask) actually went around the world via the server. At least in Austria, hundreds of people shared it within a few hours. Among them were around 20 Lower Austrians.
Defamation about a photo
They are all now being prosecuted for defamation. Because the allegations that they spread against the police officer by sharing the post on their publicly accessible social media profiles are false. Important to know: Every person who has a social media account is a media owner according to the law and must therefore comply with the media law. You are also legally responsible for the content that you publish on your profile.
Today, Wednesday, a 62-year-old from Gaming, a 62-year-old from St. Leonhard am Forst, a 32-year-old Tullner and a 46-year-old from Pöggstall faced this case (in independent proceedings) at the St. Pölten Regional Court the criminal judge. All four admitted having received the picture and shared it on their Facebook profile. Nobody was aware that they were making themselves liable to prosecution.
Policeman wants compensation
The judge sees the acts as “just barely punishable”. He does not condemn any of the four, but offers everyone a diversion, which they accept. With a diversion there is no conviction under certain conditions: The Tullner and the man from Gaming get a trial period of one year and have to pay the police officer 100 euros each.
The man from St. Leonhard receives a year of probationary period, as does the man from Pöggstall. The latter had already reached an out-of-court settlement with the police officer and paid him 1,400 euros in damages. The policeman also asked the other defendants to pay the same amount, but the judge referred him to civil action.