A 25-year-old man from the UK (Reading, Berkshire) by the name of Sean Duffy was arrested and sentenced to 4 and a half months in jail due to internet trolling. He has recently pleaded guilty to sending offensive communications, and police have reported that he was writing hostile messages on Facebook memorial walls of dead teenagers throughout the country.
One of the teenagers who became subjected to his torment was Natasha MacBryde, a 15-year-old that committed suicide by throwing herself under a train earlier this year after being bullied. Duffy made comments deeming her a “slut” and made a video on YouTube titled “Tasha the Tank Engine” where the video showed Thomas the Tank Engine with MacBryde’s face on it.
The paragraph above is only one of few disturbances that Duffy caused. He also posted offensive messages about Lauren Drew (14 year old dead from epileptic seizure) saying “Help me Mummy, it’s hot in hell.”, produced an offensive image of Hayley Bates (16 year old dead from car accident) with crosses on her eyes and red marks on her face, and wrote hate messages about Jordan Cooper (14 year old stabbed to death).
While I do think that Duffy’s actions are inane and uncalled for, he honestly didn’t deserve jail time for something that people all over the world do on a daily basis. It worries me that there are people out there that are going to jail simply for writing abusive messages online. How exactly are internet trolls comparable to rapists, child molesters, and murderers? If the perpetrator is not infringing on anybody’s rights, why is he getting in trouble? Also, could this signal the beginning of a trend? What if people begin to take legal action against someone simply for saying something that they didn’t like or hurt their feelings, no matter how trivial it may be?
There is no law that people have to like everyone, or be nice to everyone. If there was, then a ton more prisons would need to be built. That’s for sure. On the bright side, there would be a lot more nice people walking around!
Anyway, the best punishment for him would have been to just let life run its course and take care of things. There was mention that he was an alcoholic, autistic, and lived a “miserable existence”, so it all speaks for itself really. In my opinion. jail time for somebody like this (whose life is most likely already a living hell) is overkill.