Sending shockwaves through the legal community, the High Court of Australia has just confirmed ‘I was hacked, bro’ can be used as a defence to criminal charges. In a landmark decision handed down just this morning, James Biggson, originally convicted of ‘sharing someone’s profile picture on Facebook (s282)’ has successfully appealed to the High Court, who overturned the conviction, and suggested that the claim ‘I was hacked,’ is now a compelling legal defence to an array of criminal charges.
The legal community had been watching R v Biggson closely, as many were surprised when the Queensland Supreme Court, and the Queensland Court of Appeal, rejected the ‘I was hacked,’ defence. However, some previous cases before the High Court suggested there was some scope for the defence to operate, as in R v Oakwood, the defence of ‘I didn’t mean to send that text, my friend had my phone,’ succeeded.
But with today’s decision, the legal community is wondering no longer. President of the Queensland Law Society, Janet Hill, has proudly proclaimed this ‘…a momentous decision in regards to the rights of aggrieved parties who have had their Facebook passwords leaked and/or their phone snatched.’ Pundits at the ABC were quick to recall the decades-old case of Twain v The Queen, where Brian Twain’s ‘I was hacked’ defence was unsuccessful in persuading the court that he had not posted ‘im gay haha’ on Facebook. Twain’s case is now under the microscope yet again.
However, some are less pleased with the ruling. TC Beirne’s Professor Sarah Moran, current lecturer in Law & Technology, told The Obiter that ‘…this will simply make it far easier to murder someone, or steal, and claim you were hacked! After all, if we can hack phones, why can’t we hack people? There’ll be so much hacking – we’ll be hacking lunches, we’ll be hacking coffee! And all of it will be legal!’
Policy concerns seem to have influenced the court’s decision, as many recall the great Birthday Scandal of 2014, wherein substantial state resources were wasted in wishing people happy birthday when it was not, in fact, their birthday.
Nevertheless, as a new day dawns, Australians will now be safe in the knowledge that, no matter what might occur, they can always say ‘I was hacked. Bro.’