Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Liam Stacey

Let's be clear Swansea University student Liam Stacey hasn't been jailed for 56 days for mocking the heart attack of Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter but for the racist abuse he aimed at those outraged by his initial tweet.
He will probaby serve less than a month but suffer his guilt for years to come.
Always allowing that freedom of speech is central to separating British society from dictatorships, the wider issue  for the rest of us is how far a***holes are allowed to spout their bile before expecting the full weight of the law to descend on the collar of a drunken student.

2 comments:

  1. Liam Stacey wouldn't be in jail if this was just about verbal abuse. The internet is awash with verbal racist abuse. Other people have been given community service and fines.

    So what is different about this case?

    Liam Stacey invoked the name of a football player, and the judges were apparently caught up in the hysteria surrounding this event.

    It sets a very worrying precedent. For instance, if we say something that offends enough people, then we risk being sent to jail.

    Nobody should lose their liberty for their words, unless those words are likely to incite violence.
    Nothing Liam Stacey said incited violence.
    In fact, other tweeters threatened him, and his family home has been attacked.
    No arrests for those though.

    He has been scapegoated, and that is not true British justice. It is shameful.

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  2. I was surprised Stacey's sentence wasn't cut on appeal - there was a case as you make that his offence didn't warrant prison at all. It would seem the judiciary was influenced by the national attention. But as legislators ie Parliament have voted to make racist abuse an offence, it is a curtailment on the freedom of speech which people - drunk or sober - breach at their peril. GC

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What do you think? GC