The police should charge 30 people with harassment, threats and misuse of social media sent over comments they made on the family that runs a Golden Bay restaurant, a lawyer has said.
Dr Arthur Azzopardi filed a police report last week after an incident on social media, which sparked outrage and led to attacks on the family.
Allegations surfaced on social media a week ago that a man allegedly beat a kitten to death outside a popular seaside restaurant on Sunday afternoon.
The incident horrified patrons and prompted an outpour of anger on social media.
“There might be more people that should be arraigned because comments on social media are being posted all the time,” Dr Azzopardi said.
People describing themselves as eyewitnesses claimed the man chased a cat out of the restaurant and then “struck the cat repeatedly and killed it” with tourists sitting at nearby tables screaming.
An initial Facebook post about the incident implied the restaurant’s mother was in some way connected to the man who had killed the kitten. The family running the restaurant denied any connection whatsoever.
Photographs of a man people said was responsible for the kitten’s death was shared online.
“He should be burned alive,” a person commented. “Please video it if you do, I’d be delighted to see him burn,” another replied.
Dr Azzopardi said the man in question was considered a suspect by the police and was called in for questioning. The man is not the owner and neither a relative of the owners.
The restaurant owners said the anger was misplaced. They dissociated themselves from the perpetrator immediately after the incident, expressing their “disgust” and saying they hoped the man would be brought to justice.
That did not stop hate comments from pouring in, however, with Dr Azzopardi admitting the family had been left in shock from the backlash.
“The impact on the family’s well-being and their business still remains to be seen,” he said.
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