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April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

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April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  interested on Wed 31 Oct - 19:31

The article is in the Lancashire Evening Post.

"The term has been reduced to eight weeks, which means he will be released any day now."

"Woods has 21 previous offences on his record, including violence, damage, dishonesty and two public order offences."

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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  chrissie on Thu 1 Nov - 10:10

http://www.lep.co.uk/news/local/april-jones-troll-has-sentence-cut-1-5080910

A man jailed for posting sick messages on his Facebook page about missing schoolgirl April Jones has had his sentence cut.

Matthew Woods, 20, made a number of derogatory comments about the five-year-old and also Madeleine McCann who disappeared in Portugal in 2007.

The comments led to a mob of around 50 people descending on his home in Chorley, and magistrates sending him to youth custody as they imposed a maximum term last month.

But he has now successfully appealed against his sentence at Preston Crown Court, having claimed the 12-week term was excessive and that magistrates should have given him credit for his guilty plea.

The term was reduced to eight weeks, which means he will be released any day now.

Woods, who had been living at Eaves Lane, Chorley, had pleaded guilty to an offence of sending by means of a public electronic communications netwrork a message or other matter that was grossly offensive.

He has served 23 days to date. After he was arrested he told officers he had been drinking at the time he posted the messages, having got the idea from a website publishing poor taste jokes.

Woods had 21 previous offences on his record, including violence, damage, dishonesty and two public order offences.

Judge Anthony Russell QC said Woods’ previous convictions indicated he had little concern for the feelings of others.

His barrister Joanne Shepherd told the court he was deeply ashamed of his behaviour and the custodial sentence had been a short, sharp shock. Having lost his job, he was drinking heavily at the time and came across a joke from a website that had been put on his Facebook page.

Woods then made a vain attempt to try and persuade others that his Facebook page had been hacked. Miss Shepherd said: “He has never received a custodial sentence in the past. This had led him to reconsider the way his life was going at the time.

“He understands the outrage. He understands he will have to relocate.”

Judge Anthony Russell QC, the Recorder of Preston, sitting with two magistrates, said the remarks posted by Woods had been “disgusting, offensive and very shocking”.

He said: “In our view, it is in the top sentencing category for such an offence. This was a bad case and after a trial the sentence would have been at the top of the range of twelve weeks. We reduce it to give him credit for his guilty plea.

“We hope the short, sharp shock has indeed had its effect on him because, given his record, if he goes on offending in the way he has, he only has longer sentences to face.”



I did think that the sentence was a little excessive. That said, he doesn't sound like a nice bloke at all.

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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Thu 1 Nov - 10:12

Funny, I was just thinking about him. I thought that the sentence was over the top. The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. At least with young ones like this drunken oaf, there is a hope that they will improve with age.

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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  chrissie on Thu 1 Nov - 10:24

I totally agree. There are 'sick' jokes all over the web, if you don't like them, ignore them. There was a good article posted on Jill's yesterday (thanks to candyfloss), hope it's okay to bring it over here:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/jane-devine-when-offence-causes-legal-action-our-freedom-of-speech-is-at-risk-1-2603297

Jane Devine: When ‘offence’ causes legal action, our freedom of speech is at risk

Even if something is said that offends us, it doesn’t mean we should all lose freedom of speech, writes Jane Devine

TAKING offence at something is a personal reaction; we are all offended by different things depending on our views, beliefs and the context in which we’re reacting. But, when we have a public reaction to something, when “the public” decide that something is offensive, as opposed to just offending them, and when their views influence legal action, we are beginning a process which may end up with us losing our precious right to free speech.

A number of years ago I went to see the comedian, Frankie Boyle, in Edinburgh. During the gig he told a joke about Madeleine McCann. He claimed to have attempted the joke on BBC’s Mock the Week a number of times, but it had always been edited out.

I didn’t find the joke funny (although plenty of others did) and it did make me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t complain though, or report him to the police: it was after all, a joke.

Last week, a jury in England formed a similar view, awarding Frankie Boyle £54,000 of damages, to be paid by the Daily Mirror who had branded him a racist, again on account of a joke.

Yet barely a fortnight earlier, 19-year-old Matthew Woods was jailed for 12 weeks by the same legal system for making jokes about the disappearances of April Jones and Madeleine McCann on his Facebook page. The magistrate in that case cited “causing offence” and “public outrage” as the reasons for imposing the harshest sentence he was able to.

So, on the one hand we have the law upholding freedom of speech and expression; and on the other, the law is curtailing that freedom on the basis of popular opinion and what some people find offensive.

That’s not how freedom of speech works. It isn’t a continuum: we either have it or we don’t. If we have it, we have to have a consistent and mature approach to it and accept we cannot remove it when the subject matter is too raw.

The comments made by Woods may well have been upsetting and distressing, but that is not a reason to jail someone. Particularly when the same comments in another context probably wouldn’t have been given much attention.

Would the magistrate have imposed that sentence if the comment was made in two years’ time and not when public feeling about April’s disappearance was and is so charged? Would Woods have been jailed if the comment was solely about Madeleine McCann who went missing in 2007?

Equally, would Frankie Boyle have been awarded damages of that amount (or at all) if his joke had been about Jimmy Savile and the Mirror had branded him a paedophile?

We cannot jeopardise our right to freedom of speech by applying it when it suits us: removing it on the basis of emotion, or offence, which are entirely subjective and of the moment.

And, we should always remember: it is entirely our choice to take offence. If we choose not to, it can end there.





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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  chrissie on Thu 1 Nov - 11:06

Wonder what this troll will be sentenced to:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4620724/Sick-teen-joked-of-sex-with-missing-5-year-old-April-Jones.html

A TWISTED teen has admitted making vile comments about missing Welsh girl April Jones on Facebook — including claims he had sexually abused her body.

Sick Sam Busby, 18, told magistrates he was “looking for attention” when he made a string of sick remarks about the five-year-old, who is now presumed murdered.

April vanished in Machynlleth, Powys, on October 1. Busby put a warped joke about her on Facebook on October 6 — the day Mark Bridger was charged with her murder.

Worcester Magistrates’ Court heard he then posted further vile comments and other users rounded on him — with one contacting police.

Busby, of St Johns, Worcester, admitted using a public communication network to send a grossly offensive message.

He was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced on November 7.


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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  Not Born Yesterday on Wed 7 Nov - 15:25

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/april-jones-man-sentenced-facebook-posts-133046976.html

This idiot got off a bit more lightly than the last one but it still seems to me like a case of a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut.

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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

Post  weissnicht on Fri 9 Nov - 5:06

I'm sure the whole thing would have never got that bad, if mccanns weren't mentioned.

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Re: April Jones 'troll' has sentence cut

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