Mushroom lunch case sends social media sleuths into overdrive

Wild speculation into Erin Patterson’s fatal mushroom lunch has run so rife around the world that a fair trial would be “almost impossible” if charges were laid, legal experts fear.

The triple-fatal mushroom lunch at Leongatha has captured the imaginations of thousands of social media crime commentators, amateur internet sleuths and podcasters, many of whom are airing baseless theories about Ms Patterson and the police investigation into her.

But commentary in the “wild west” corners of the internet has run rampant around the world, well beyond the reach of Victoria’s laws and court.

Arnold Thomas and Becker lawyer Kim Price told the Sunday Herald Sun that keyboard warriors posting outlandish theories without “recrimination or responsibility” posed drastic risks for any future legal proceedings.

“The degree of speculation and commentary online about this incident has been so widespread and overwhelming that if charges were laid, a fair trial before a jury would potentially be almost impossible anywhere in Victoria,” Mr Price said.

“Many members of the public have now been exposed to so much conjecture online that their views would be so prejudiced they could not fairly sit on any jury.”

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