April Jones joker Matthew Woods’ sentence reduced – you should be offended
APRIL Jones has not been found. Paul and Carol Jones, April’s parents, have spoken from their home in Machynlleth, Powys, to thank the help and support they’ve ben given. They have been “overwhelmed“.
Mark Bridger, 46, is is jail. He’s been charged with 4-year-old child’s abduction.
Meanwhile, Matthew Woods, 20, of, Chorley, Lancashire, has had his 12-week sentence for posting an offensive tweet abut April Jones reduced to eight weeks on appeal.
Two magistrates sat at Preston Crown Court to debate whether or not making a deliberately sick joke in 140 characters or fewer is worthy or 12 weeks prison.
This text also included a sick joke about Madeleine McCann.
Odd, isn’t it, that a no-mark from Lancashire can make a sick joke to a few followers on Twitter and be jailed but newspapers can libel people and just be fined. No jail. No criminal trials. No prison.
Those in favour of further regulating the Press would have it that more people were treated like Matthew Woods. The rich and the powerful would use such laws to gag the hard-fought freedoms of the Press. Getting it wrong is not the norm. Woods is an idiot. He advertised the fact on Twitter. The State did not need to imprison him. The censorious wanted it. They want every mistake punished.
London is “a town named sue”.
Under section 127, of the Communications Act 2003, it is an offence to send electronic messages, including on social media websites, that are “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character“.
If Woods had been overheard telling his joke in pub, would he have been arrested and jailed for 12 weeks? What about if he told the joke in a comedy club and passed it off as post-modern satire, you know, being racist or bigoted to prove a point about how unfunny such arcane jokes are (although half the audience are laughing up their sleeves because they they found the racism and bigotry funny).
In Sentencing Matthew Woods, Chorley Magistrates’ Court bench chairman Bill Hudson told him:
“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.”
Woods was jailed for 12-weeks because the public demanded it.
Anyone right-minded should be offended that a tweet gets you 12-weeks choky.
That the police even bother to investigate and call on tweeters to act as police narks is a sick joke. This the police implicated in the phone-hacking scandal now arresting journalist on suspicion of being part of that scandal. No copper has been arrested over Hillsborough, when police lied and lied and lied. They libelled the dead. But they never did tweet it or post their lies on Facebook.
Doing so makes any thought a possible criminal offence. Be warned…