BlackBerry ‘prank’ causes Baywalk scare

There was a body found in a public bathroom at the mall, possibly a female teen—three stab wounds to the neck.”
Upon hearing the above one couldn’t help but wonder, what could possibly have transpired in that circumstance? Perhaps this “young woman” and a female friend had some kind of fallout that was settled in a violent manner in a public rest room. Or maybe the act wasn’t even perpetrated by another female, but a male who shouldn’t have been in the bathroom in the first place. In any case, the rumour was sad and unlikely enough to warrant investigation.
Those words were all it took for media houses to rush down to the Bay Walk Shopping Mall on Wednesday evening and for police to call in right away to get information on the alleged incident.
Once there it was another story entirely. For a scene where a person was said to have been killed just moments earlier it seemed like any other Thursday evening in Rodney Bay.                 Apart from the regular after work traffic, there wasn’t much going on, and upon reaching closer to the Bay Walk Shopping Mall, security guards were all standing at their regular vantage points keeping watch.
The fact that nothing seemed out of order was enough to doubt whether there was any truth in the rumour and rightly so. One look in the direction of the first floor bathroom which was neither guarded nor cordoned off told that this perhaps was a very idiotic prank by someone who surely had nothing better to do. Nevertheless, staff from various businesses in the mall and stopped by to peer into the bathroom searching for a body—they too had either heard the rumour or received the vile BlackBerry broadcast message.
“Where are these rumours coming from,” this reporter asked one of the security guards who looked just as confused as everyone else.
“I don’t know, I’ve been standing here all night,” he said. “If there was something going on in the mall we wouldn’t just be standing here outside.”
At that point Bay Walk developer Maher Chreiki walked past and the STAR engaged him in conversation.
“This is ridiculous!” he exclaimed. “This is out of manners—only an animal would do that.”
Bay Walk’s project manager Zai Mohammed stepped in at that point saying: “The mall has been bombarded with calls, about this BBM message that was sent all over that there was a young woman found in the female toilet of the Bay Walk Mall with three stab wounds to her neck, this is absolutely untrue. People should just ignore this message.”
“People do all kinds of things,” she continued. “We have no idea why someone would do something like that, we can only think it was somebody pulling a prank.”
Although there is a Cyber Crimes Unit that is part of the Royal St Lucia Police Force, there is no recorded case in St Lucia where someone has been charged for a BlackBerry offence, whether relating to defamation of character or in this case slandering a business’s reputation.
Computer crime, or cyber crime, refers to any crime involving a computer and a network, where the computers may or may not have played an instrumental part in the commission of a crime,” according to a Wikipedia definition.                 BlackBerrys can play a major part in those types of crimes as similar functions can be carried out on both mediums. However, to track down the source of a BlackBerry broadcast message is near impossible, as in most cases messages spread like wildfire over the international network. Company privacy policies would make it even more difficult to track down the original sender.
The closest thing to “smart phone legislation” is the Computer Misuse Act, which “provides for the protection of computer systems and the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data. It further provides for the prevention of abuse of computer systems and facilitates the gathering and use of electronic evidence in relation to criminal activities penetrated through computer systems. This act is not yet in effect,” according to an August 27 edition of Government’s National Review.
At the recent launch of the St Lucia United Against Crime initiative, National security minister Guy
Mayers said in order to complement crime prevention effort there was need to ensure there was a system of justice that was reliable and effective, that protected witnesses and law abiding citizens. In that respect he said government had begun amending legislation where necessary, including the Computer Misuse Bill.

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