Australian cyberbully sentenced for best friend’s suicide
In 2009, Shane Gerada and Allem Halkic were friends. Then, when they had a falling out, Shane sent Allem threatening text messages. He said he wanted to appear tough and that he acted out of revenge. His messages included:
“Ur all mouth and no action, wait till I get my hands on u, and I’m telling u now ill put you in hospital;”
“Don’t be surprised if u get hit sum time soon. You f…ked with the wrong person.;” and “its payback for him.”
On February 5, 2009, Allem messaged Shane as follows: “Shane man just listen to me I need your help…you might not give a f*** about me or whatever but just be a man and help me out.” Several hours later, Allem jumped off Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge in Australia and died.
Shane was convicted of stalking for sending threatening text and online messages. In April, 2010, he was sentenced to 18 months probation and 200 hours of community work.
Update: In May, 2011, the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal in Australia determined that Allem’s death was the direct result of an act of violence. His parents, Ali and Dina Halkic, now speak to students about the dangers of cyberbullying and may now seek compensation for his death. See this video of Allem’s room at home and statement from his parents: http://media.smh.com.au/news/national-news/courts-cyberbully-landmark-decision-2395607.html
For immediate help in Australia if you’re thinking about suicide, call 13 11 14 or go online for assistance at www.lifeline.org.au