By Chris Wright
Liam Stacey, the 21-year old ‘Twitter troll‘ who was arrested after posting several racially offensive Tweets about Fabrice Muamba midway through an all-day drinking session on March 17th, has been sentenced to a stint in prison for his troubles. Liam Stacey will be ‘Stacey, Liam’ for the next 56 days.
Stacey, a second-year Biology student at Swansea University, was told by the District Judge at Swansea magistrates that his actions were ‘vile and abhorrent’ and that there ‘was no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.’
Take note: a couple of drunken Tweets = a custodial sentence and a potential scotched life for an obviously aspirational young man. Yes, the lad acted like a tactless prick and we’re not attempting to make light of his conduct, but jail seems…well, a tad ‘Draconian.’
It would appear to be a very harsh, emotionally-swayed verdict, but alas freedom of speech doesn’t entitle you to be abusive, racially or otherwise. That said, you can’t help but feel Stacey has been made an example of out here.
Even taking Twitter in isolation, if they just begin by chasing down, arresting and imprisoning anyone and everyone who has ever called Stan Collymore a ‘f**king black bastard’ or posted toxic filth about Patrice Evra on his truly shocking Twitter ‘favourites’ feed (some of which is far more violent and pernicious than what Stacey had to say about Muamba) then the magistrates of the land will have just upped their workload ten-fold.
Are we looking at the first of many ‘trials by Twitter’?