Instagram evidence persuades a British Columbia judge that a teen was set up on a sexual assault charge.

Kirti Pathak
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Thousands of messages indicate that a "callous" adolescent deceived a classmate who was expelled and detained.

After a trail of Instagram evidence revealed the boy was "set up" by a "callous" classmate who stoked his romantic desires before seeing him expelled and convicted, a B.C. provincial court judge acquitted him of sexual harassment.

Judge Patrick Chen acknowledged that the perpetrator identified as H.S.S. was a lonely immigrant who was new to a school, while the alleged victim had several friends in a judgment that details the convergence of social media, high school intrigue, and adolescent sexuality.

When she found out the boy, who was also 16, wanted to meet in a bathroom on the morning of a school day in May 2019, the 16-year-old girl testified she had no idea what to expect.


Chen, on the other hand, thought the girl's account of the supposedly non-consensual "making out" session that followed lacked "even the air of truth."

Instead, the judge chose the accused's "unshakeable" expression, which included 2,000 steamy Instagram text messages the two exchanged in the days leading up to the incident — posts the alleged victim later removed after determining they weren't "important" to her allegations.

Under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the names of the students and the school are redacted. The trial was held in Richmond, British Columbia.

The alleged victim said two of her friends had possession of her phone when H.S.S., who sat a few seats behind her, sent an Instagram message asking to meet in a nearby bathroom, according to the verdict.

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