Governor Augustus Jaspert is warning that the police may launch a probe into persons responsible for disseminating false or offensive information about COVID-19 patients locally.
The governor — who has responsibility for the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) — gave that indication following what he described as a plethora of despicable information being circulated about the woman who died shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 in the BVI.
Speaking during a live broadcast with Premier Andrew Fahie and Health Minister Carvin Malone on Saturday, the governor condemned the behaviour.
“It may also be illegal behaviour and the police will investigate should crimes under our Computer Misuse Act have been committed,” Governor Jaspert said.
Stiff penalties damaging information, police warn
Moments after the governor’s statement, the RVIPF issued a press release reminding the general public to be “sensitized” about the aforesaid law.
The RVIPF pointed to Section 14A of the amended Act, which speaks to the dissemination of false information that is damaging in character.
On summary conviction (at the Magistrate’s Court) a person could be fined up to two hundred thousand dollars or serve up to seven years in prison, or both.
If convicted in a higher court, persons could be fined up to half-a-million dollars or imprisoned for fourteen years, or both.
“The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force is making a conscious effort in asking the general public to refrain from disseminating false, misleading, offensive or malicious information as such cases will be investigated and the offenders prosecuted before the court,” the RVIPF said.
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