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Stephanie Guthrie Twitter Harassment Verdict Draws Bullies Out To Play

01/22/2016 08:34 EST | Updated 01/22/2016 08:59 EST

An Ontario judge acquitted a Toronto man of criminally harassing a pair of activists on Twitter — and the decision brought out the worst in some people on social media.

On Friday, Judge Brent Knazan ruled that Gregory Alan Elliott had harassed Stephanie Guthrie and Heather Reilly using the social network, in what is believed to be the first criminal harassment trial involving Twitter in Canada.

But Knazan also didn't accept that Elliot's tweets could have reasonably made the activists fear for their safety.

Elliott's acquittal drew a flood of responses on social media.

Some expressed support for Guthrie:

Others supported the court's decision:

But plenty more comments crossed the line into nasty territory.

Many of them targeted blogger Anne Thériault, who has written about the case extensively.

Thériault tweeted the following after the verdict was handed down.

A string of angry tweets followed:

But Thériault wasn't the only woman targeted after the verdict was announced.

After tweeting, "Regardless of how the courts decide, I believe the victims," feminist commentator Julie Lalonde set her account to private.

“It is so incredibly meta to be flooded with aggressive, hateful, harassing tweets as a result of the courts deciding that one man’s targeted campaign at women was not threatening," she told Buzzfeed.

Here are more comments that crossed the line into vulgarity, name-calling, and bullying after the harassment trial:

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