On November 22, 2012 Gregory Alan Elliott was released on bail after being charged with Criminal Harassment. One of his alleged three victims, Stephanie Guthrie, claimed that Elliott’s Twitter messages were “creepy” and that he made her feel unsafe. Elliott’s bail conditions banned him from using email or the internet- he’s now been offline for 849 days.
The trial began in January 2014 and has been slowly grinding through our high viscosity court system. As each trial day passes the case against Elliott is looking increasingly weak- charges alleged victim Paisley Rae were dropped while she was still making her testimony. Elliott’s lawyer is arguing that the charges were a setup- a conspiracy to shut-up Elliott’s loud opposition to their political views (Elliott describes himself non-partisan, but has pissed-off a lot of people).
One would think that a person in Guthrie’s situation would be sensible enough to avoid making public comments that could cause further instability to her case. But as Guthrie demonstrated through her testimony, she’s a strong believer in vigilante justice- going as far as to tell the court that she believed it was okay if a man got hurt as a result of his personal information being published online. And now it appears that she’s following the same pattern, making a public accusation against Elliott that he might be the person who sent her a death threat.
In a string of messages connected to Guthrie’s Twitter account, she claimed on March 18th that she was the victim of a “death threat”. When asked about the threat Guthrie first explained that she was trying to figure out who sent the message. Next, after being asked it it was a good idea to take the situation to the police, she responded saying:
“They can. I’m considering reporting. Mainly concerned that it might have been left by one Greg A Elliott”
When Elliott was asked about Guthrie’s allegations today he responded saying that he’s never made a death threat before to anyone:
“I cannot comment on this specific instance because we are still in court. But, I assure you, I have never threatened anyone with death – verbally, physically, written, smoke signals, or through any electronic media. It should also be noted that I cannot threaten death via the whispering voices in someone else’s troubled mind, theoretically.”
It was made very clear, from the first day of Elliott’s trial, that he’s not been accused of making any threats- this was acknowledged by the Crown. Guthrie’s online slacktivism has caused many people to get upset with her brand of vigilante justice, it’s even more likely the undisclosed “threat” came from someone she’s targeted in her past. Death threats, of course, should be taken seriously- shouting out unfounded public accusations about who made them is the opposite of that.
The case goes back to trial on March 30th, by then Elliott will have been banned from using email and the Internet for 856 days, in a situation where it’s acknowledged that no threats have ever been made. There’s something deeply disturbing about this- all based on Gurthrie’s allegations he made her feel “creepy”. Stay-tuned for more reports as the trial progresses.