Wednesday, March 28, 2012

56 days in jail for posting on Twitter.

A 21 year old student from Pontypridd has been jailed for 56 days for posting on Twitter. Liam Stacey provoked revulsion with comments that included "LOL [laugh out loud]. F*** Muamba. He's dead!!!", made while the Bolton Wanderers star still lay on the pitch. The 23-year-old midfielder was left fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack in a televised FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on 17 March.

Stacey, a Swansea University biology undergraduate, was quickly tracked down and arrested. Last week he admitted inciting racial hatred when he appeared briefly at Swansea magistrates' court and yesterday he was jailed for 56 days at the same court.

District Judge John Charles said: "In my view there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence."

A longer report can be read on the BBC News website.

I am shocked at this custodial sentence and think that District Judge John Charles is off his trolley and out of touch with the majority of people. I am not alone in my opinion that a 56 day jail sentence on Liam is wrong.

Musa Okwonga , a football writer, poet and musician of Ugandan descent has written a very good article about this sorry tale of injustice...

My gut reaction, when I first read of the judgment, was that a very stiff community penalty would suffice. Perhaps Stacey could have been made to work the type of hours in the type of places that refugees work. Then he might have understood better their daily burdens, which hatred like his only serves to increase. That, combined with the adverse publicity that accompanied his trial, would probably have sufficed. Many will welcome his imprisonment, considering that the justice system has done well to move with the times, but I can’t help but feel that the long arm of the law has overreached.

...Musa mentions two tweeters who regularly write provocative tweets. Here are 2 examples to illustrate their content..

sickipediabot tweets...

Liam Stacey jailed for racist tweet, does anybody know when Dianne Abbott is due in court?.

The Funny Racist tweets...

What's the difference between the slave trade and a hurdle? Black people can get over a hurdle.

 ...Now come on District Judge John Charles, most people have a sense of humour in this country and people should be able to take comments and tweets on the chin. Lighten up for goodness sake. But on a very serious note, we MUST retain the right to Freedom of Speech otherwise we may as well become illiterate and mute.

Who is paying for Liam's 56 days in prison and the potential restriction in Freedom of Speech and expression - that's right, you the taxpayer and voter. If a football writer, poet and musician of Ugandan descent calls this custodial sentence wrong, think what the average internet user must feel.

Simply let down by this injustice in our courts.
Spot on Stephen..... The Dianne Abbott fiasco was quickly forgotten about
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