A 36-Age UK man to serve 150 hours of community service after tweeting ‘grossly offensive’ about end Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Joseph Kelly’s remarks came just a day after the death of Captain Tom in February 2021, who had become a national hero after walking 100 laps around his garden to raise money for the NHS and its associated charities. He was later knighted and received a personal call from the Queen after turning 100 in April 2020.
Kelly, who is from Glasgow, was sentenced earlier this week after being found guilty of sending ‘grossly offensive’ messages about Captain Tom on Twitter.
He faced jail time, but the prosecution opted for community service only.
According to the Nationalhis defense was that he had been drinking at the time, and that he deleted the tweet just 20 minutes after sending it.
Kelly also argued that he had very few followers at the time, meaning not many people would have seen him.
“He admits he was wrong. He hadn’t foreseen what was going to happen. He took action almost immediately to delete the tweet, but by then the genie was out of the bottle,” said the Kelly’s defense agent, Tony Callahan, according to The edge.
“His level of criminality was a drunken post, at a time when he was struggling emotionally, which he regretted and almost instantly deleted.”
Kelly was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 months of surveillance and 150 hours of unpaid work in the form of a reimbursement order from the Scottish community.
Today marks one year since the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
On this anniversary, we remember an inspiring figure who showed the world how much can still be achieved, even at the age of 100. He gave hope to the world and we miss him very much. pic.twitter.com/HB7nhmOeD7
— The Captain Tom Foundation (@captaintommoore) February 2, 2022
Sheriff Adrian cottamwho convicted Kelly, told the 36-Age“My opinion is, after hearing the evidence, that this was a grossly offensive tweet.
“Deterrence is really about showing people that despite the steps you’ve taken to try to call things back, as soon as you hit the blue button, that’s it.
“It’s important for others to realize how quickly things can get out of control. You’re a good example of that, you don’t have a lot of followers.”
Kelly was convicted under section 127 of the UK Communications Act, a law originally introduced to prosecute offensive remarks over the telephone.
Since then, Section 127 has been used hundreds of times to prosecute UK citizens for posting “grossly offensive” messages on social media.
Mostly Scottish YouTuber Mark meechanbetter known as the Count Dankulahas been prosecuted under the law in 2018 for training his dog to raise his paw in a Nazi salute style.
Section 127 is set to be replaced by the UK’s Online Safety Bill, although critics question the sweeping powers it will give law enforcement, as well as what constitutes ‘offensive’ language or “harmful” online.