The Attorney General has issued a stark warning to people posting on social media about a Premier League footballer who has been arrested on suspicion of child sex offences.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram became littered with memes on Tuesday morning purporting to identify the professional athlete who has not been charged.
Britain’s chief legal adviser has warned that such posts could be in contempt of court – a crime that carries a potential prison sentence.
The Attorney General, Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC MP, said: “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and everyone deserves a fair trial.
“A mis-judged tweet or post could have grave repercussions and interfere with a trial. It could mean a trial is delayed or at worst stopped because a fair trial isn’t possible – so I would caution everyone, don’t get in the way of justice being done.
“The Attorney General’s Office will monitor the situation and we will review any contempt of court allegations made to us.”
The player, who cannot be named, was arrested last week.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers arrested a man on Friday, July 16, 2021 on suspicion of child sex offences.
“He is on police bail pending further enquiries.”
A spokesman for his club said: “The club can confirm it has suspended a first-team player pending a police investigation.
“The club will continue to support the authorities with their inquiries and will not be making any further statement at this time.”