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Should you be jailed for Social network comments ?


tonyh29
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just seen that a 20 year old man was jailed for 12 weeks for posting "jokes" about April Woods and Maddie McCann on Facebook

so , what do people feel about this .. is the law right or should status updates and tweets / social media be above the law

April Jones: Matthew Woods jailed for Facebook posts

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Matthew Woods was arrested for his own safety on Saturday

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A Lancashire man who posted offensive comments on Facebook about missing five-year-old April Jones has been jailed for 12 weeks.

Matthew Woods, 20, made a number of derogatory posts about April and missing Madeline McCann.

He appeared at Chorley Magistrates' Court where he admitted sending a grossly offensive public electronic communication.

Woods, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, was handed the maximum sentence.

Chairman of the bench, magistrate Bill Hudson, said his comments were so serious and "abhorrent" that he deserved the longest sentence they could pass, less a third to give credit for his early guilty plea.

Mark Bridger, 46, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates earlier charged with April's murder.

He is also charged with child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice.'Author of own misfortune'

Woods, who is unemployed, was arrested for his own safety on Saturday night and remanded in custody ahead of his appearance in court.

Chorley magistrates heard members of the public were so upset about his posts they reported them to the police.

About 50 people went to his home. He was arrested at a separate address.

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Members of the public reported the offensive online post about April Jones to police

The court heard his comments mentioned April, who went missing last week from near her home in Machynlleth, Powys, and Madeleine McCann, who vanished five years ago from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

Martina Jay, prosecuting, said: "When interviewed by police he fully admitted he posted messages about the two missing children."

She said he had been drinking at a friend's house when he saw a joke online and changed it slightly before posting it on Facebook.

"He said he did it in a bid to make people think his account had been hacked. He said it got out of hand," she said.

Woods conceded to police that his account had not been hacked and that he was responsible for all the posts made on 3 and 4 October.

David Edwards, for Woods, said: "He did seem genuinely remorseful and regretful for what he had done.

"At the time he posted these comments not once did he think he would find himself where he is today.

"He fully accepts he was the author of his own misfortune."

Sentencing Woods, Mr Hudson said: "The words and references used to the current case in Wales and that of the missing girl in Portugal are nothing less than shocking, so much so that no right thinking person in society should have communicated to them such fear and distress.

"The reason for the sentence is the seriousness of the offence, the public outrage that has been caused and we felt there was no other sentence this court could have passed which conveys to you the abhorrence that many in society feel this crime should receive.

Full article on the BBC

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no, any form of public utterance or broadcast should be subject to the law.

However, no crime should be in the '12 weeks' incarceration bracket because that's dumb. It costs thousands a week to lock somebody up and massively affects their future ability to find productive work.

12 weeks gives you a record, costs me money and fixes nothing.

Give the fool a fine, some sort of inconvenience, some sort of public telling off.

Who decides what is cheeky, what is near the knuckle and what is obscene or harmful, intimidating and threatening I haven't a clue. I guess that's what precedent and juries are for.

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Also, why isn't Frankie Boyle in prison by now?

Is television subject to different laws than the internet? The answer is sadly yes, but I can't figure out for the life of me why saying something on Facebook is worse than saying it in real life, or over television/radio.

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Its only our country in which we get the police involved over stuff like Twitter/FB issues. Why is it just Facebook/twitter? Surely if the joke is posted on a site like sickipedia its exactly the same thing.

It makes no sense and I cant believe a lawyer wouldn't be able to get someone off one of these kind of charges.

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Of course not.

There needs to be some serious thought about the kind of precedent thats being set with this sort of thing.

Besides that, I really dislike this developing culture of causing 'offence' (whatever the **** that means) being some kind of heinous crime. Grow the **** up.

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Of course not.

There needs to be some serious thought about the kind of precedent thats being set with this sort of thing.

Besides that, I really dislike this developing culture of causing 'offence' (whatever the **** that means) being some kind of heinous crime. Grow the **** up.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words shall never hurt me.

Unless the words are on Facebook, in which case bring back hanging.

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If there is to be a punishment at all for things posted on FB or Twitter then I think like most here that a fine should suffice. Why spend the money it costs to house someone in prison for only 12 weeks when as has been said, lots of comedians make similar jokes and centre their career around telling them.

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Posted this in the 'trolling' thread a few minutes ago, didn't see this one:

So a man has been jailed for saying bad things on Facebook. I'm sure I've read similar types of jokes posted on VT, let alone Facebook.

Social media is dangerous, you can ruin your life in a few taps of a keyboard. I don't feel sympathy for the accused, he did something stupid, but I do wonder whether what he did was simply distasteful rather than criminal. If he harassed the family or friends of the missing children, then the case would be entirely different, but it's not clear whether he did this or just posted on his own feed for his friends to look at.

I dunno, the lines are getting blurry. I didn't know being a complete word removed was a crime.



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No, not at all, as far as jokes are concerned anyone or anything is fair game and it's never 'too soon'. The internet is becoming boring and corrupted by kill joys. At least I'll be able to tell future generations that 'I was there when the internet was a lawless place and FUN'.

Back in the day, the internet and real life were two separate things.....

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I once told a Madelaine McCann joke on FB. It wasn't even sick, it was a joke. It caused a shitstorm from dumbass idiots who saw the words Madelaine McCann in a joke and got offended. The joke wasn't offensive in the slightest. It was the day Bin Laden was killed. All I posted was "It's alright Maddy you can come out now, you are the hide and seek champion of the world."

I think I ended up defriending about ten people that day but only after I then started posting pedo jokes, just to show what offensive really was.

Utterly ludicrous society we live in at the moment.

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Its only our country in which we get the police involved over stuff like Twitter/FB issues.

Not true. It happens here as well - probably more frequently as well, I'm not sure.

Davkaus hit the nail on the head here, utterly ludicrous. In a way, it's no different from radical Muslims clamouring for death to people who draw pictures of Prophet Muhammad - punishment is totally incommensurate with the "crime", especially considering how similar jokes/effigies don't cause any offence at all.

I find this very appalling.

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I once told a Madelaine McCann joke on FB. It wasn't even sick, it was a joke. It caused a shitstorm from dumbass idiots who saw the words Madelaine McCann in a joke and got offended. The joke wasn't offensive in the slightest. It was the day Bin Laden was killed. All I posted was "It's alright Maddy you can come out now, you are the hide and seek champion of the world."

I think I ended up defriending about ten people that day but only after I then started posting pedo jokes, just to show what offensive really was.

Utterly ludicrous society we live in at the moment.

That reminds me of the whole Russell Brand / Andrew Sachs ordeal. There were a couple of complaints about it when it actually happened but once it appeared on the news, everyone was up in arms. People just want to be outraged about something so they can give themselves a false sense of moral superiority.

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Deat threats, racism, threats of violence, inciting to riot and stuff like that, then maybe.

But being jailed for an "offensive" (offence is taken not given) joke is ludicrous.

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