Posts Tagged ‘Justice Girvan’

Stop taking liberties

03/04/2012, 07:00:31 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Last week we learned that the government, in its benign munificence, wants to have access to all our emails “on demand”. We are, it seems, all now assumed to be terrorists or master criminals until proven innocent. Our calls, texts, internet searches and other electronic messages will be fair game for the prying eyes of our securocrats.

A one-off sortie across the demarcation that separates personal liberty from an ever-encroaching state? Were that it were so. The past week has been an utterly dreadful one for Lady Liberty.

Take into consideration, if you will, the case of 21 year-old Liam Stacey. He was jailed for 56 days last week for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter following the collapse of Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba. No need to recite his vile ramblings, but let’s say he stood out from the crowd in not wishing the footballer a swift recovery.

Sentencing him at Swansea Magistrates’ Court, District Judge John Charles told Stacey: “In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.” Wow, really? No other means of punishing this stupid, half-pissed student for tweeting his brainless racist tirade without locking him up and ruining his life?

His university was no less draconian. He faces being booted off his course, despite being in the third year of a biology degree, at the whim of some po-faced university commissar. Will his own parents be obliged to disown him next?

When we hurtle past “reaction” and crash headlong into “over-reaction”, nothing should come as a surprise. Like any other sentient human being, I abhor racism and as a Wanderers fan was doubly aggrieved at what Stacey posted. But when did boorishness come with an automatic jail sentence?


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