Chorley teenager imprisoned for Facebook jokes

9 October 2012

I suppose we should not be surprised that the Tweet-police (formerly the British police) have now extended their remit to become the Facebook Police.

Today, getting caught for an actual crime is very rare in Britain. As anybody who has ever been robbed will know, most thefts are not even investigated by the police. It is even rarer for criminals – on the few occasions they are caught – to get sent to prison. How strange then that a 19-year old has just been sent to prison for three months for posting unpleasant jokes on his Facebook page.

The unemployed man from Chorley, Lancashire admitted to posting offensive jokes relating to the missing schoolgirls April Jones and Madeleine McCann. After being criticised for his comments by, among others, his own mother, it should have stopped there. He even wrote a message saying:

‘Sorry to my friends and family that have been brought into all this. I’m not a bad guy just took a joke to far I’ve apologised for what has been said and there’s nothing more what I can do sop all this s*** really aint going to sort anything nothing more to say on the matter apart from sorry again.’

But that was not enough.

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The Magistrates’ Court in Chorley heard that members of the public ‘upset’ about the Facebook comments called the police. A ‘vigilante mob’ soon descended onto the youth’s home. The police removed him from his home for his own safety and arrested him. Now, in sentencing the teenager – who said he had been drunk while writing the posts – to three months in prison, JP Dr Bill Hudson told him:

‘This was a disgusting and despicable crime which the bench find completely abhorrent.

‘There were words used and references made to the case in Wales and Madeline McCann who went missing in Portugal some years ago which were nothing less than shocking.

‘So much so no right thinking person in society should have communicated to them such distress.

‘The families of those children should not be subjected to any use of social media like this. We should all be aware of the sensitivity of other people and especially the family involved in such statements made on Twitter, Facebook and such like.

‘We felt there was no other sentence which would convey the abhorrence that many people have for this sort of crime.’

Apparently the public gallery erupted with cheers and clapping as the sentence was handed down. All of which seems very strange to me.

I have no idea if the families of Madeleine McCann or April Jones are on Facebook, or whether they specifically read the Facebook page of the Chorley poster. But I think it is unlikely. This ‘despicable’, ‘completely abhorrent’, ‘nothing less than shocking’ crime can therefore only be said to have caused ‘distress’ to members of the public who follow this particular 19-year old on Facebook.

But even aside from the lack of wisdom in sending someone to prison for telling jokes – however unpleasant – the messages our flailing society sends out seem to be getting increasingly deranged. Perhaps JP Dr Bill Hudson does not have a television. Every time I turn one on I find exactly the type of humour he finds so shocking. Try Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle. Almost to a man – only ever men – this nation’s comedians earn their followings by making the most tasteless and disgusting jokes they can get away with. Perhaps they should. Much of the best humour is about pushing peoples’ boundaries of taste. The most popular type of humour in Britain is currently based not on eliciting real laughter but rather a sort of shocked ‘I can’t believe he said that’ gasp. It is not everybody’s idea of comedy, but it is obviously the ideal for a lot of people, because they reward the comedians so lavishly that the comedians themselves often have to locate tax-avoidance schemes to keep themselves in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

Russell Brand really made his name by leaving abusive messages on an old age pensioner’s answerphone, boasting in particular of how he had f**ked the man’s grand-daughter. The BBC had to let him go for a short while before letting him back on to make a film about drugs. A proud nation displayed this national treasure as a centrepiece of the London Olympics closing ceremony. I must admit that I feel sorry for the Chorley teen. He was already out of work. He was also drunk. He relayed the types of jokes that make other people millionaires. But not him. Instead a vengeful mob came to his house. His mother told him off. He was arrested. The vengeful mob then cheered as he was sent to prison. What a strange country this is.

Even stranger that this should happen in the same week that almost everybody in show-business has decided to reveal that a prominent entertainer was known to many of them to be a child-rapist. And what did all these powerful, rich and successful people do about that? Absolutely nothing. Perhaps the nation can lie in wait until some unemployed teen dares to make a joke about it all. Then we’ll show ’em.

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Show comments
  • Darren Hayward

    I know this is an old post however this truly shows the impact that social media can have if used without thought or care for others. Some people don’t realise the consequences of their actions and learn the hard way.

  • rndtechnologies786

    Nice view.

  • Suzie Q

    Although his comments were in poor taste People in this country have been let off for making far worse offensive comments. The justice system in this country is an absolute farce and a laughing stock. You can rape, molest and abuse children for years and get away with it. Yes – What he said was stupid and yes – it shows just what an ignorant uneducated idiot he is. But Prison. Come on…

  • Frank Sutton

    The Stasi had to recruit its citizen spies. Now., thanks to Facebook and Twitter we have a willing army of them eager to snitch on their felllows

  • WelshGobShite

    Having once illicited an angry response from people for observing on Facebook the irony of someon who died in a drink drive accident having a flowers at her funeral in the style of a pint of lager, I know knly too well how people get exceedingly irate over Facebook. And how people delight incirculating stuff to people who would otherwise never have seenit to stir up further controversy. Very scary and a salutory lesson to me.

    • WelshGobShite

      Apologies for typos. Sticky keyboard!!! Incidentally the victim was the drunk driver!!

  • sguest

    Is this a joke? Just because entertainers make sick jokes it does not make it right!! I saw the Facebook comments and they were vial. Personally I was horrified- making comments about having sex with 5 year old girls, yes he should be locked up. Not just that after he apologised he continued to brag about the attention he had received. He did not seem remorseful at all despite his “apology”. The families of the two missing girls will hear about this and if I were them I’d be disgusted. He needed to be taught a lesson. How anyone can think this is acceptable behaviour is beyond me. Also you don’t need to follow someone to see their comments, I have friends whose children (13-16) are one Facebook what message would we be sending to them if we condoned this behaviour?! Because he is unemployed does not give him and excuse- neither does being drunk. Get a job and find some decency! Yes everyone say’s things they shouldn’t but not to this extent and “respectful” people apologise and then try to make up not bragg about how he had made celebrity of himself by “joking” about an absolutely awful circumstance. I think if people had viewed the vile “jokes” and then the boy’s comments and updates after they would feel exactly same. I beleive in freedom of speech but not offensive, disgusting comments.

    • Daniel Maris

      You claim to have read the comments. I haven’t. Did you go on that site especially? What does that say?

      Do you think people should be arrested for making sick comments down the pub?

      If not, why not? How many people would you like to see arrested for grossly offensive comments on a Saturday night?

      You really don’t understand the concept of free speech if you think offensive and disgusting comments should be censored. Don’t forget that 50 years ago calls for
      homsexual equality were considered by most people as “offensive and disgusting”. Today, is it offensive and disgusting to reveal the offensive and disgusting things that the founder of a religion did?

      • sguest

        1) You claim to have read the comments. I haven’t. Did you go on that site especially? What does that say?
        I have read the comments. I didn’t specifically go to this page, I am from the same area and we have mutual friends. Therefore when our mutual friends were commenting it appeared on my news feed. I will not repeat the comments he put as they are truly disgusting. However I would like to point out yet again that after he apologised he continued to bragg about the fact he was now famous, saying things like “do you ever get sicking of seeing your own name” and posting a video entitled “Famous”.
        2) Do you think people should be arrested for making sick comments down the pub?
        It’s a slightly different concept. The comments Matt wrote were written and could be seen by hundreds of (possibly more) people. The families of the children he was “joking” about could see them. They can be discoevered numerous times. You don’t see jokes like this in the paper for the same reason. Also I have been to the pub many times and never heard anyone say jokes as offensive and disgusting as these, maybe I’m sheltered.
        3) If not, why not? How many people would you like to see arrested for grossly offensive comments on a Saturday night?
        Again I refer to the fact that you haven’t actually seen the jokes he put, they were paedophilic and yes if someone on a night out made these comments, and they were heard by numerous people then I beleive that person should be arrested.
        4) You really don’t understand the concept of free speech if you think offensive and disgusting comments should be censored. Don’t forget that 50 years ago calls for
        homsexual equality were considered by most people as “offensive and disgusting”. Today, is it offensive and disgusting to reveal the offensive and disgusting things that the founder of a religion did?
        I understand your point here however I hope in 50 years time that paedophilic jokes do not constitute free speech.
        My opinions here- as free speech states everyone is entitled to their own, I just beleive that making paedophilic comments should not be deemed as free speech.

        • Frank Sutton

          Crikey, you sound like a sanctimonious pain in the arse.
          To put it mildly,

          • sguest

            That’s your opinion but I don’t think that at all. I’m just a girl who doesn’t like paedophilic jokes about a girl who is missing and a family that will be upset. I am sorry if I appear that way, I just wanted to express my opinion- his comments affected me in a negative way and I just wanted to portray that. I didn’t mean to come off that way at all or appear sanctimonious….I’ll admit I can be a pain in the arse at times but mainly to my other half. I haven’t been on a forum before and I’m not a literary genius so maybe I haven’t expressed myself very well. I’m sorry I just wanted to express how it made me feel.

            • Frank Sutton

              No reason for you to be sorry – but you express your feelings by calling for people whose remarks offend you to be jailed?

              • sguest

                Not that offend me, but comments that are about having sex with 5 year olds.

              • Anthony Barnes

                These people don’t understand where this sort of movement stops… it doesn’t, in the end we will all be afraid of saying something only slightly offensive in our own homes for fear of being put in prison for months rather than weeks.

                If i was a peculiarly vindictive person i could befriend someone i don’t like on Facebook and sure enough under this law i could get them charged if they slipped up just once.

                Most people like sguest cant get past the insulting comments made by this 19 year old boy to see that 12 weeks in prison and a potentially ruined life is not worth a string of words!

                • sguest

                  I can get past it, I just think he should be taught a lesson. Potentially ruined life? He posted the comments he should deal with the consequences.

                • Anthony Barnes

                  Everybody makes mistakes when they are young most get away with silly little comments like this but now he is the first not to and it will take a few more definitely changed for the worse lives before everyone conforms to a big brother nazi style way of thinking.

                  Looking at my facebook feed i can probably get at least one person in some real bother for what they have said over the past few days but why would i? If i didnt like what they said wouldnt i just delete them as a friend? Why would i have friends like that if i was going to get so offended by what they said?

                • sguest

                  and ruined life- what about the parents of April Jones and Madeline Mccann and the girls themselves? Surely they are the most important people in all of this.

                • Anthony Barnes

                  Its the pedophile that killed the girl! He is the real criminal and who has ruined these families lives not the 19 year old boy he has nothing to do with it.

                  Yes any parent including myself would be upset about these comments but the only reason these comments circulated so well in the first place because of the people commenting on it pushing the reach out further and the media attention they where given – this was partly to do with the fact that a lynchmob of 50 or so people turned up at his house to most likely beat the crap out of him.

                  Im not defending the lads comments but the jokes dont equal time in jail, no way am i ever going to change my mind on that. Society has changed so much that nobody should be put in prison for saying something, we would have to lock up most of our comedians, And i could have had many people over the years locked up for the way they have made me feel after saying something.

                  I understand your veiwpoint and agree that the girls and their families are the most important in this, so why care about what someone say?

                  What about all this media attention? all the money papers made form selling the story’s? what influence will this have on a trial of the real criminal?

        • Daniel Maris

          1. So it was your friends who were in effect circulating these horrible comments by themselves commenting on them. A lesson there.
          I am still at a disadvantage because I haven’t seen the comments but
          I would say I have found some of Frankie Boyle’s comments about Madeleine McCann and Jade’s vagina when suffering from cancer offensive and disgusting. I don’t want him arrested though. I simply don’t want people to pay to hear that material and I don’t want it on mainstream TV.

          2/3. I think you have led a sheltered life – probably partly from being a girl. This is v. much a bloke thing – engaging in offensive banter that no one would like aired in real public.

          Claiming that Liverpool supporters pee’d over dying fans was considered grossly offensive by the people of Liverpool. Should the editor of the Sun have been put in jail? Or isn’t it better to leave the people of Liverpool to boycott the paper.

          4. What is the measure of offensiveness? Some teen comedy movies are pretty offensive. Many art works are deemed offensive by most people. Racial jokes are deemed offensive – but not all ones it would seem and sometimes it depends who’s telling the joke.

          Free speech is far more important than a little local offensiveness.

          • sguest

            So what would you have suggested the action from these jokes? This sounds a little arsey which I don’t mean it to be I am genuinely interested to hear what the course of action you would have deemed as necessary? Again really difficult to not make this sound arsey without you hearing the tone of my voice. It is not meant to offend.

  • Robert Bentley

    Well put, as usual, Mr.Murray.

  • John Steadman

    Brilliant, Douglas Murray; and ,yes, almost beyond belief, isn’t it?

  • kevinc

    I find the magistrate who handed out this sentence and the comments he used in doing-so offensive. Who do I see about having him arrested and jailed?

    • Amergin Selby

      you cant . he is the law and he can comment as he sees fit.Within bounds of course.

  • WoodstockWastrel

    Its odd how the judiciary are happy to comply with the wishes of the mob when it comes to tasteless comments on Facebook but seem to do their utmost to thwart the extradition of known terrorists. Giving this pissed up 19 year old a three month stint in the slammer could ruin the rest of his life for one small error of judgement. If I had a microphone stuffed in my face by some moron reporter from BBC local news I’d have to say I’m ‘gobsmacked’ and ‘disgoosted’.

  • Eddie

    Or perhaps it’s just more evidence that we now live in a Kidocracy – a land where children are so worshipped that no-one is ever allowed to criticise them or tell them off or discipline them in any way or let them fail an exam in case it damages their fragile self-esteem; where helicopter mums and paranoid parents flock around their precious darlings, infantlising them whilst simultaneously – on many estates – dressing their little daughters up like tuppenny whores and encouraging their sons to beat the living shit out of each other.
    If one dares point out that parents are being over-protective and hysterical, and that no, making exams so easy and dumbed down that any dunderhead dude can pass, is not really a good idea.
    Point out too that the vast majority of those children abused and killed are abused and killed by their parents (esp mothers) or family members – and that for a stranger to abduct a child is very rare, and for that child to be killed by a stranger is rarer still, with 5 cases a year in the UK , the same as the 1950s – and the anger and fury will well up in every self-righteous idiot parent who has been so brainwashed by our media and emotional incontinence that they feel they have the right to spread the lie that children are forever at risk – when in fact children are at less risk than ever before in human history.
    The little girl is Wales was allegedly abducted by a friend of the family, for example.
    The sanctimony of parents knows no bounds – but it takes nothing to be one: just have sex and wait 9 months and you’re a mum or dad. That’s why most of them seem so bloody ignorant and stupid perhaps – though this ignorance and stupidity and lack of a rational response cuts across class lines, and is encouraged by a salacious media – particularly TV – which feeds of the corpses of little murdered children as cravenly as crows.

  • Eddie

    What we have here is the police going to easy meat – like some predatory rapist on the look-up for leglessly pissed girls after closing time. FARE easier for them to arrest and charge some drunken kid who says stupid things online than, y’know, catch criminals and ting…
    What we also see here is a bloody good reason why ordinary people should have no say at all in the sentencing and punishing of offenders. Fact is, most people are members of The Mob – and whether that mob turns on some drunken kid who has committed the cardinal sin of our age by daring to say something bad about a child, or turns of individuals from other minorities (Jews, for example, or BNP members, or those branded ‘way-cist’!), it’s just the same.
    People really are morons, and I am happy to be a misanthrope. I don’t think that’s illegal yet, is it? Though am waiting anxiously to hear is misanthrophy is soon to be added to the list of sins that the high priests of the church of political correctness and santimony have in store for the next rebooting of the ‘equalities’ bill.
    I don’;t think anyone should ever be imprisoned for any offensive remark on Facebook or that awful crap called Twitter: except perhaps inciting violence or terrorism. But telling a sick joke – probably of the type many young men in particular tell each other (to cope with the horrors of life) – should never get to a court in the first place or involve criminal proceedings. Perhaps this is also institutional sexism in action – because males are far more likely to tell each other sick jokes than girly girls? I look forward to Harriet Hardman getting involved and making sure men get the equality their female peers expect…
    What the FUCK is happening to this country?

  • James Martin
    • Eddie

      Yes, indeed.
      But it seems the mistake Matthew Woods made was in NOT being brown-faced and Muslim – if he had been, he would not be in prison.
      And just look at all the abusive hateful bile spewed by so many race and religion websites – and Facebook pages and Tweeters. Buy hey, the BBC gives those people slots on radio and TV and celebrated their diversity, allowing them to spread hatred against non-ethnic non-religious types.
      All I can say is I’m glad I don’t use Facebook much and have never used Twitter – thoughj I have called people some truly terrible things in drunken emails (I always think laptops whould come with breathilisers fitted actually!)

      • James Martin

        Yeah, white power!!!!

        • Eddie

          I was thinking more of a colourblind approach which gave no-one special treatment just because of a pigment in their skin or their avowed belief in a sky pixie.
          However, I know believing in such equality is likely to get one accused of being a ‘waaaaycist’ by the (racist) socalled liberal elite, who want to treat people differently depending on their skin colour and ethnicity…
          I suppose Mr Woods could have blacked up, wrapped a tea towl round his head, and yodelled ALI OOO AKBAR, OUR KID into the Lancashire night (assuming he would have been able to make his voice heard over the general screaming and gunfire which seems to have replaced the sound of the Mersey Beat oop in them parts…).
          He probably would have got a council or arts council grant and maybe a BBC commission then for that.To ‘celebrate diversity’ and ‘reflect a vibrant and changing Britain’ – and that….

          • James Martin

            Na, there ain’t no black in the Union Jack.

            • Eddie

              Errrr….yes….and? There’s no black in most country’s flags either – including African countries.
              See, black is kind of a depressing colour innit?
              And anyway, black people aren’t black: they’re brown.
              No doubt some would like verisimitude – but a union jack in a squidgy shade of poo-brown wouldn’t have much appeal maybe…

              • Eddie

                that’s ‘verisimilitude’, by the way – before some old hag-bint screeches at my typo!

  • Austin Barry

    “To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free….from the age of Big Brother…. Greetings”.

    Well, it took a further 28 years, but here we are. Greetings, indeed.

  • RichardH

    This is the law used. The important thing to note is that you only have to send the message. It’s irrelevant who, how many, or if any at all, read it. So even if you sent a sick joke by text or email to your mate you’re liable.
    I think 50 million people should go hand themselves in at their police station tomorrow.

    The Communications Act 2003 section 127 covers the sending of improper messages. Section 127(1)(a) relates to a message etc that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and should be used for indecent phone calls and emails. Section 127(2) targets false messages and persistent misuse intended to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; it includes somebody who persistently makes silent phone calls (usually covered with only one information because the gravamen is one of persistently telephoning rendering separate charges for each call unnecessary).If a message sent is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing or false it is irrelevant whether it was received. The offence is one of sending, so it is committed when the sending takes place. The test for “grossly offensive” was stated by the House of Lords in DPP v Collins [2006] 1 WLR 2223 to be whether the message would cause gross offence to those to whom it relates (in that case ethnic minorities), who need not be the recipients. The case also said that it is justifiable under ECHR Article 10(2) to prosecute somebody who has used the public telecommunications system to leave racist messages.A person guilty of an offence under section 127 CA 2003 shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine or to both. This offence is part of the fixed penalty scheme.It is more appropriate to charge bomb hoaxes under section 51 of the Criminal Law Act 1977. See Public Order Offences, elsewhere in the Legal Guidance.Section 127 can be used as an alternative offence to such crimes for example as hate crime (including race, religion, disability, homophobic, sexual orientation, and transphobic crime), hacking offences, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, amongst others.

    • Eddie

      But how is that law interpreted? What is ‘grossly offensive’, for example? I’d say a lot of what religious leaders vomit out at the world falls into that category anyway.
      Funnily enough, my business had an utterly unreasonable customer last year, who faffed us about and refused to pay for a reasonable fee for an order to which we had allocated a freelancer (though we never ask them to start work until we have payment thank goodness). Well, it all got out of hand and he called me names and I called him names – and so what did this guy do? Yep – went to the police!
      So I get an email from a PC Plod up in Scottishland, asking me to contact him: I did, explaining my position and that I was being reasonable, and that I had copies of the customers rude email. No further action was taken.
      But really, if that police officer had chosen to, he could have had us both arrested for calling each other names! Has our society somehow turned into a primary school playground, where the dinner lady of the law tells us off – AND has the option of arresting us, pressing charges and imprisoning us?
      This law needs to be clarified. No-one should be sent to prison or even sent to court or even arrested for being offensive online – except in the case of inciting violence, which – it seems to me – scores of Islamic websites do all the time.
      Two lessons here: 1) if you want to get drunk, turn off your mobile and laptop first! (I too have been guilty of sending abusive and offensive emails, as have many to men!); and 2) if you want to spew sick and offensive messages online, then make sure your skin is brown and you belong to a minority religion – and better still if you’re female and/or a ‘mum’ with a pity party sob story to tell, and/or disabled. Black one-legged single mum lesbian Muslims are invincible and untouchable, it seems!

      • Daniel Maris

        You can hear any evening calls on Muslim TV channels broadcast by Sky for infidels to be killed, punished and so on. Apparently that’s not grossly offensive.

      • Sarah

        Well I shouldn’t feel too sorry for yourself Eddie. You seem to have so far dodged legal accountability for sending abusive emails, sending offensive emails, for defaming alleged victims of sexual assault, inciting racial and gender hated, for being an apologist for sexual harassment, being an apologist for rape and being an apologist for child abuse, maybe even a little bit of encouragement for it.

        So, what are you whining like a man about? You spread your bile with impunity.

        • Eddie

          Who said I felt sorry for myself? I feel sorry for you love, what with your permanent manhating hissy venom-spitting bio-furious tantrums.
          You really are as thick as the menstrual clots that have no dobt addled your wickle wimmin-brain, now that you no longer have a vagina to expel them…
          Your lies – for that is what they are – are an example of libel or slander (depending on which lawyer you ask) and actually clearly break the law. You cannot just accuse someone of inciting racial and genedr hatred when they haven’t, love, or accuse them of being an apologist for rape and child abuse, without 1) showing yourself to be a proven liar and 2) an idiot who everyone who hears your endless dreary drivel laughs at regularly, and 3) an amoral lump of cowardly scum who has not got the guts to make such accusations in writing (a letter) and in public, where you would have to pay for your libel and lies.
          I together with most of the population have sent abusive emails.
          But you Sarah your mentalist piece of feminist manhating scum accuse me of encouraging child abuse? You really are sick in the head, bitch. Lets hope you never have any children – they just wouldn not be safe to live with a woman of your dangerous violent abusive ambitions.
          The reason why many children is abused of course is because we no longer take them from their unfit mothers – who often have a new ‘boyfriend’ every week who then has access to those children. I want us to forcibly take children from unfit mothers like you – THAT will protect children, about whom you simply do not care: all you and feminists care about is your own twisted sick and hateful egos. Most children who are killed are killed by women, y’know – and I am so glad you are a barren dried up old hag Sarah. Thank goodness no child will have to suffer your motherhood.
          You really show yourself to be unworthy of anyone’s time, Sarah. I truly pity you – you clearly need help. My advice: see a doctor – but please don’t inflict yourself on a male GP – choose a woman who is strong enough to cope with an evil man-hating dangerously psychotic thing like you.

        • Eddie

          See. Sarah Mad Woman – SAYING something is true doesn’t make it true, love.
          When will you feminasty manhaters ever learn?
          Evidence that I have incited racist or gender hatred – that I have defamed allaged victims of sexual assualt – that I am an apologist for rape and child abuse, and that I have in any way encouraged others for sexualy abuse children.
          Oh wait – there IS NO EVIDENCE because I never did any of those things.
          You truly are a sad sick little bint, Sarah. You spend all day hissing likea gas leak and are about as useful. Do us all a favour and do a Sylvia Plath eh?
          Now, go off and have a wickle cry about how unfair the world is boo hoo hoo and how idiot wimmin like you can’t make it on your own (though able women can), and blame men (almost halfthe world’s people) for all your unhappiness, loneliness and mental health problems. But it won’t make your sad shrivelled up little life better, will it?
          If you were a man you’d stop whingeing and do something to make your life better. Start by stopping blaming others for your shitty life – cause no doubt by yourself and your mother who was almost certainly as stark raving bonkers as you.
          And I remind you Sarah love: accusing innocent people of crimes without evidence is a crime in itself. So shut your cock-hole, baby. Now’s not the time or the place…

    • Michelle Clark

      We have one of those communication laws in Canada too, though it’s not enforced at all. I wonder how many of us know it.
      I used to have a job that included transcribing voice-mails into text for pagers.
      (If anyone remembers pagers) If even one swear word was used we were not permitted to type that word, just enter a question mark.. If the entire message was inappropriate, or a good portion of it, we typed: Operator cannot transcribe this message, please retrieve by phone. If we were busy and not thinking, and typed a swear word and sent it to the pager, we got fired.
      I think I am beginning to hate the internet.

  • Mike

    and this is why we fail to lock up thieves and rapists – jail cells are filled with people telling tasteless jokes on social media..

  • In2minds

    odd it is that Jimmy Saville and his like of young girls gets a
    different treatment to the fact we have girls of 12 years old being
    married in Mosques in the UK.

    • RichardH

      Or that there’s not a single prosecution of a father of any of the 10,000 odd children born to underage girls each year.
      I find that considerably more detrimental to society than that a famous DJ abused his fame.

      • Sam Ashman

        Even if this is true, the blame does not solely rest on the males in such situations. Every situation is different, and to blame men or boys for women or girls being pregnant is to deny the agency of said girls and do them, and both genders, a considerable disservice.

        As a teen, I knew predatory girls (under 16), who would fake their age in order to get into clubs and seduce older men. Just because it’s the female who gets pregnant, it does not mean she is a victim.

    • AJ

      Provide a source for that claim. Go on.

  • In2minds

    Good point about ‘ comedians’, mind you I think Dr Bill Hudson is a bit of a joke too.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well we can hardly have a situation where unemployed teenagers get put in prison for sick jokes but super-rich Frankie Boyle gets a free pass can we?

    This is another sign of creeping censorship.

    Such sick jokes have always gone on in pubs and schoolgrounds. I remember one about JF Kennedy from my childhood.

    We need to get some sense of proportion back.

    Perhaps we should have an internet commissioner who could be appealed to (at a price) and the commissioner could make a judgement as to whether a statement was offensive and whether repetition would constitute some form of malicious offence. That might be a rational way of proceeding. In this case the people upset could have got to together to pay a fee to get a commissioner’s judgement. If the judgement went against the youth he would probably have been suitably reprimanded and desist from repetition. Prison offences for such minor indiscretions are absurd.

    Another Orwellian element: we don’t really know what the offence was, do we?

    One point of accuracy – the McCanns have an army of people monitoring the internet (seemingly paid for out of the fund into which the public paid huge sums) and they are taking legal action against Tony Bennett for statements he has made, including the uncontroversial observation that their poor daughter is probably dead (a view accepted as reasonable by the Met Police).

  • TimK

    Will those who now say that they suspected, or knew, that our “prominent entertainer” was a child rapist now be charged with perverting the course of justice?

  • Baron

    Douglas, one of your best, sir, you’re a star.

    And what’s the common denominator for the bunch of the progressive comedians with no taste, for the tosser Brand, the pedo Savile? If the pervert were to be employed by the empire of the Old Australian, the police would have by now made numerous arrests, all at dawn, the squads heavily armed, heads would have rolled, the Old man himself would have been most likely castrated.

    But, except for the Daily Mail banging about the fate of the girls, and quite rightly, too, not much is being said about the cover up of the abuse. Evil men have always been around, but they’ve only succeeded because those in charge let them get away with it.

    A strange country indeed. Britain was once valued as the cradle of democracy, tolerance and common sense, the pseudo-liberal tossers have turned her into a coffin of democracy, tolerance, and common sense.

    • Eddie

      ‘Paedo’, purlease. It’s bad enough that we have imported that word from America – what was wrong with ‘child molester’ anyway? – but please use the British orthography, Baron sir.
      I think it is really sick that some gets accused by others of sex crimes months after they have died – and cannot defend themselves. People perhaps want sympathy, money and fame – and that is why they are saying what they are: I am sure a lot of 15 year old girls then quite wanted to have sex with a famous bloke from the telly, as they do now.
      I think all the tutting and shaking heads from the self-righeous ‘aren’t all men abusers and bastards’ brigades is appalling. How convenient too – no-one to say what really happened now, is there, coz he’;s dead! Let’s not forget than women can and do lie, and also have deluded and false ideas about events – encouraged by the counsellor and abuse industries. And what good does it do anyway?
      And I see a great many monay women are joining the ‘I was abused’ pity party, because some bloke came onto them in the office in 1976. It’s called flirting and often ends in sex and/or marriage too – and many secretaries and bimbos who have married well (ie snared the boss) can attest too.
      And what of young men who have to put up with lewd disgusting women at work? I know guys in bars who regularly get groped by pissed up women.
      Oh no but I forgot: if they complain they are wimps, and not victims of abuse at all.
      No doubt if I tweeted all that I’d be arrested too, of course…
      Funny how this ‘feminist equality’ works innit?
      By the way, I hated the weirdo Jimmy Saville – but that does not mean I think what is happening is right ot fair.
      What next – calling John Lennon a paedo for screwing teenage groupies in the Beatles dressing room?
      We should all just grow up really, and realise that a 15 year old is not a 5 year old – and strictly, a paedo is someon who has sex with a child before the age of puberty.

      • Lungfish

        You’re right Eddie, Saville was a lascivious old perv but what the hells the point of have at least 10 Met. coppers tied up investigating 30 year old cases of what, in the main, seem fairly minor indiscretions. Are they going to arrest Jimmy Page for having a 14 year old girlfriend in 1973 for example? Its another example of the media talking up a storm for the gormless mob.

        • Eddie

          And while they’re at it, they can dig up Elvis and hang his body from a tree while putting his head on a spike outside the church of political correctness, pour encourager les autres…
          Not a little pervy salacious interest for some who are tut-a-tut-tutting that – SHOCK HORROR – a red-blooded man may actually take advantage of his fame and wealth by shagging a few of the groupies who come his way.
          I truly believe that that is what happened here.
          It’ll be interesting to see what happens if the BBC choose to bowdlerise its reruns of Top of the Pops from the 70s. If they erase all those pop stars and presenters who shagged teenie groupies back then, all they’ll be left with is Clive Dun and the St Winifreds School Choir!

          • WoodstockWastrel

            and Cliff Richard

            • Eddie

              I am sure there are some skeletons in Cliff’s closet! Give it time… Maybe he had intimite relatiosn with a baby cow when he lived in India (which of course qualifies him as a racist already, as a white in Asia, and that’s perhaps why he’s long been banned from many BBC radio playlists…)

        • Eddie

          Yes, and there is a big subtext here: the whole Saville business is an excuse for every manhating old hag to join the great big feminist pity party and moan and whinge about how awful men are tut tut tut! It’s just like someone being racist against all Jews because one Jew did something dodgy! Same instinct; same intentions.
          I have no doubt Harriet and Her Sisters would ban men if they could; as it is, men have more or less been banned from teaching in our schools – by making the whole system so feminised and discriminatory against them – and also TV is largely made by women (producers) for women (women watch way more TV than men). Hence the emotional diarrhoea of our Oprah-infected age.
          Let’s not forget eh that flirting, coming on to others and chatting people up is not illegal inthe workplace and many marriages and relationships come from that sort of thing. Occasionally, signals are misread – but what’s the problem? Can’t women stand on their own two feet and say NO to any man coming on to them? And what of young men at work who often have to put up with old, ugly. lewd women – and young barmen are often groped as ‘part of the job’.
          Feminism = hypocrisy.
          But really, most women are not mad manhating feminists: all have fathers, many have brothers, husbands and most importantly, sons. Would most women be happy if their son was sacked or worse for chatting up some girl at work? Or for screwing a groupie who was up for it? I am not so sure…

        • Baron

          so , Lungfish, Eddie, of Adolf, the Austrian corporal with the funny tash only the positive after May 1945, like the building of railways, the provision of jobs and stuff, after all the poor creature cannot defend himself.

          What you’re missing, boys, is the cover up, every dog got barking when the hacking scandal broke, the fron news for the BBC, every dog except for few keeps shtum about the peado (OK Eddie?) because it’s the BBC, shame on you both.

          • Eddie

            Silly analogy, Baron: Hitler’s doings did not come to light for the first time in 1947! And it’s PAEDO, matey – which strictly only refers to those who sexually abuse kids before the age of puberty, not those who shag 15 year old groupies.
            Shame on you for saying shame on us! OK, laa? Not convinced there has been some grand cover-up actually – though I am no friend of the self-righteous politically correct smug and hypocritical BBC.
            I just think this kind of retro-justice, where a man cannot defend himself, is distasteful at least, and an example of brazen injustice at worse. Let’s not forget that a lot of people now see the carrot of compo in the accusations – Jimmy maybe touched their knee and they scream ABUSE! because they want to join the profitable pity party. Best to be sceptical, methinks.
            Best also not just to accept that any accusation like this is true. Many men (and it is usually men) have had their lives ruined by false accusatios of abuse (rape, child abuse etc) – some teachers I know of, for example, and some who worked in care and who are the victims of police trawling – the police actually went round to these now grown-up kids many of whom are in prison and told them they could make over 30 grand in cash if their former careworker was convicted of abuse. Nice ncentive eh? And yes, women do lie about things like rape too – as well as having a perception not shared by the man.
            Also, men are extremly vulnerable because people ALWAYS believe the woman in such cases: any women who blubs and accuses a man of rape or abuse tends to get believed and the man is assumed to be guilty. This makes these sorts of things different from the usual crimes courts cover.
            How would women like it if a son of theirs was suddenly accuses of abuse and assumed to be guilly by everyone?
            As usual, the pitchfork-wielding mob is winning – and a good few feminists are highjacking this whole thing to turn it into an ‘all men are bastards’ campaign (forgetting just how many relationships and marriages come out of a man coming onto a girl at work).
            Me, I prefer common sense and justice. Call me old-fashioned…

            • Baron

              Now then, now then Jimmy’s wrongdoings didn’t come to light after his death, just read the papers, the thing was before his death nobody in authority wanted to do anything about it for fear of having one’s life destroyed, you know, a sack, no juicy pension and stuff, just like with Adolf, both far too powerful at their own level, in their own environment, only after their death could ordinary people get some satisfaction in both cases.

              And get it into your brain it ain’t anything to do with ‘people always believe the woman’, these girls were under age, the law presumes they are not mature enough to be able to make a rational decision, even if they climbed over the monster he should have said no, go shag as many grown up skirts as he wanted to, then it would have been nobody’s business, but the guy had a massive chip on his shoulder, was insecure mostly because of his physical and mental ugliness, harboured evil, thus the abuse of underage girls, the younger the better.

              • Eddie

                The girls were 15 years old! Not 5!
                And yes, people DO always tend to believe the woman. I know a couple of guys who have been falsely accused in this way – one a teacher who was 100% innocent but was so shattered by the experience he has left teaching – and also some elderly parents whose nutter daughter has alleged abuse encouraged by her silly bint group huggy counsellor.
                That’s not to say Jimmy Saville wasn’t a massive weirdo (not illegal though, that, which is just as well if you’re an MP of course…) and may well have abused his position to take advantage of available girls – but so did anyone who shagged a groupie.
                And no, I do not believe accusations without real evidence and do not believe all the women coming out of the woodword now – all with an eye on the fame and the compo – who allege they were ‘abused’ by the Saville monster (when he touched their knee in 1973…)
                You stay part of the jeering mob, mate; I’m staying well away from ’em!
                And to call Saville or anyone else ‘evil’ is silly. I saw Benny Zephaniah saying the same on Question Time, about how he thought how evile Saville was when he watched the Louis Theroux film on him – which showed him to be very odd.
                I just cannot stand all these sanctimonious I-told-you-soers trying to scapegoat a dead man who now cannot defend himself for their guilty secrets maybe eh?
                Not fair on him; not based on evidence; not fair or right. I may well be in a minority for refusing to jeer and dribble with the picthfork-wielding mob, but I am right y’know.
                And it seems to me the usual manhating feminists are using this Saville story to claim they were abused (yeah right) and to braqnd all men as rapists.
                Was there a great big cover-up? Who knows? That is a separate issue.

  • Hugh

    Quite. It takes a very, very small mind not to appreciate the more serious threat when weighing the consequences of a sick joke make by a teenager against setting the precedent that the state should lock people up for making “shocking” comments.

  • sir_graphus

    Reminds me of the Harry and Paul sketch, repeated several times with the same punchline; 2 bored policemen, or 2 policemen faced with a really difficult case; one looks to the other and says “shall we just go and arrest Pete Doherty?”
    Not clear what the offense is though, which is worrying, since I might inadvertently commit this crime myself. I understand that I must be v careful saying anything about race, 5exual orientation, or the disabled. I wasn’t aware that being generally offensive was illegal.

  • Samantha Ashman

    Yet another story that reminds me, in a sick sort of way, of Orwell’s idea of ‘thought-crime’.
    On the one hand, I’m stunned by how utterly irrelevant this teenager’s comments were. To translate for the eminent, and I’m sure, learned judge: posted on social media, while drunk is the same as ‘said to a group of friends in a pub’. The latter would certainly not get him arrested, whether nearby customers heard or not.
    On the other hand, I’m uncomfortably reminded that mass mobs seem to make the laws of this country through sheer volume and scare tactics. What possible cause could a large group have to descend on this person’s house and harass him for making a joke they don’t like? Surely it is THEY who ought to have been arrested?

    • Eddie

      Yes, good point. But far easier for the police to do the bidding of the pitchfork-wielding Mob, which after all is what politicians usually do too.
      It’s just like when Islamists threaten to behead those who write books or make films daring to challenge them – who do the police in places like Holland protect and support? The victim of threats? Naw! Don’t be silly! They protect and support those who make the threats (because they have dark skins and a minority religion, so are always right in the PC mindset), and the police tell off and warn those who dare to speak the truth – people like Theo Van Gogh and Ayaan Hirst Ali – that they should stop doing so!)
      Our values and freedoms are under threat as they have not been since WWII.

    • Anthony Barnes

      agree, what is the world actually turning into now?

      I am
      currently trying to raise money for an event I am doing
      in Tanzania to help rebuild a school and pay for food for a year
      and I will be completely honest it’s been far more of a struggle than I anticipated,
      why is this?

      because people are tight when it comes to charity for children but it seems
      crowds of people will go out with the intent to cause harm against somebody
      that says a bad joke about a kid.

      Now to
      put this into context I live in Chorley just near eves lane,the same place where all this
      happened – why am I not overflowing with charitable donations seeing as
      everyone around here is so engrossed with the concerns
      of children welfare?

  • Stabledoor

    The end of freedom of speach. Freedom to only say inoffensive things (as decided by a po faced JP) is no sort of freedom at all. We’re all doomed

  • Bruce, UK

    Free speech, no more – unless the Nomenklatura approve.

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