In an article I wrote in 2012 titled – What You Say On Twitter Can Now Fetch You A Criminal Liability-A Prison Sentence, I mentioned that, the next time you push the SEND button on twitter, remember the law has changed and your tweet can fetch you a ‘gargantuan’ legal problem—including prison sentence.
All around the world, people have this misconception that they can hide behind their computers and throw out abusive comments on blogs, twitter and facebook—not knowing that the law has changed drastically and they can be easily be fished out.
Apart from the fact that you can be sued for defamation for a few lines of comment you send out through a blog or via twitter/facebook, you can even be sentenced to prison for what you say on such platforms.
According to MailOnline;
Two Twitter trolls who abused a high-profile feminist who campaigned for women to be used on banknotes have been jailed.
Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, both told campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez they wanted her to die in a series of vile messages.
As he jailed the pair at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Judge Howard Riddle said it was ‘hard to imagine more extreme threats’.
Sorley was given 12 weeks behind bars while co-defendant Nimmo was given eight weeks in prison.
The pair bombarded feminist journalist Ms Criado-Perez with abusive messages last year after she led a successful campaign using social media for a female figure to appear on a Bank of England note.
Judge Riddle said that, despite the defendants’ claims, the harm threatened against Ms Criado-Perez ‘must have been intended to be very high’.
Unemployed Nimmo also targeted his abuse at Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, with the message ‘The things I cud do to u (smiley face)’, calling her ‘Dumb blond b****’.
The judge said the effect of the abuse on Ms Criado-Perez had been ‘life- changing’.
She describes ‘panic and fear and horror,’ he said.
He added that it had also had a ‘substantial’ impact on Ms Creasy, who has had a panic button installed in her home.
Judge Riddle said that both victims of abuse had been terrified.
‘The fact that they were anonymous heightened the fear,’ he said.
‘The victims had no way of knowing how dangerous the people making the threats were, whether they had just come out of prison, or how to recognise and avoid them if they came across them in public.’
The court heard that university-educated Sorley has 25 previous convictions, the majority for being drunk and disorderly.
While on bail for this case, she also committed two offences of assaulting a police officer and is awaiting sentence for an assault on New Year’s Day, the court heard.
Judge Riddle said Nimmo ‘used a degree of sophistication including using different accounts’ to carry out the abuse and added: ‘You appear to blame the victim to some degree.’
He described Sorley as an ‘intelligent and well-educated woman’ with a 2:1 degree in creative advertising, but said her apology appeared ‘hollow’.
‘You have offended so many times when drunk that it must have been obvious to you that you needed to deal with this problem if you were not to continue to cause harm to others,’ he said.
During mitigation, Sean Caulfield, defending Sorley, said she herself was a ‘victim’ of new technology as she did not understand the impact of what she was doing.
‘She understands what it must have been like now. At the time, it seems, she did not,’ Mr Caulfield said.
‘Maybe there’s an issue about the technology and Twitter and people understanding what it must be like on the other end.
‘She is a victim of that, if nothing else – a victim of a lack of understanding of what this new technology can do and how powerful it is.’
Paul Kennedy, representing Nimmo, described him as a ‘somewhat sad individual’ who is ‘effectively a social recluse’.
Mr Kennedy said that, when Nimmo’s original tweet was responded to and retweeted, it encouraged him to send more messages as he saw it as an ‘indication of popularity’.
‘He said that if that had not happened then he would not have pursued this course of action,’ the barrister said.
‘He believed at that time that there was a conversation and he was engaging in that conversation.’
Mr Kennedy said Nimmo had no particular opinion on the campaign but had seen the topic trending on Twitter and his lack of experience of social interaction meant he did not know his behaviour was inappropriate.
Nimmo, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, and Sorley, from Akenside Hill, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pleaded guilty to sending menacing tweets on January 7, admitting they were among the users of 86 separate Twitter accounts from which Ms Criado-Perez had received abusive messages.
The judge said both defendants would serve half their sentences in custody and ordered them each to pay £800 compensation.
In a statement released via Twitter after the sentencing, Ms Criado-Perez said that she was ‘relieved’ the judge had given the pair strong sentences.
‘I did not attend the sentencing as I didn’t feel I could cope with being in court with them – and I didn’t feel sure that the judge would understand how terrifying and scarring the whole experience has been for me, which again is not something I could face,’ she wrote.
‘I feel immensely relieved that the judge clearly has understood the severity of the impact this abuse has had on me.
‘The damages that have been awarded to me will be going to charity. When this has all sunk in I will decide which charity.’