I’ll repeat that shall I … if only to try and convince myself that I’m not dreaming … calling someone the C word is a terrible crime that will see you in court, prosecuted, found guilty and facing a custodial sentence. That’s official because the blogger and tweeter, Olly Cromwell, has today been found guilty under Section 127 of the Telecommunications Act 2003 of making a grossly offensive and menacing comment on Twitter.
Apparently, Olly called a Bexleyheath councillor a cunt, on Twitter, and a District Judge has now referred Olly To Bromley Court for sentencing. The prosecution are asking for a custodial sentence equal to 45 days for each letter.
What. The. Actual. Fuck.
I share the same feeling as the guy over on the Bexley is Bonkers website … you’d expect Twitter to be alive with this story … but it isn’t. Check out the hastag
#FreeTheBexleyOne … it’s hardly wall-to-wall outrage and fury. Why is that? No. Seriously. Why is that? Am I missing something here? Everyone must be crapping themselves about using a four letter word on Twitter. Is it because everyone is becoming increasingly wary about what they say on Twitter these days?
Perhaps someone could enlighten me.
Where on earth is all this nonsense leading? Is the government and TPTB finally beginning to tighten the noose of the free speaking internet. Is thought … now officially a crime?
You can check out the full story about Olly Cromwell, the Bexleyheath councillors and the latest updates on #c*ntgate HERE. And, if you should be reading this Olly, I’m stunned at the outcome so you must be feeling like you’re leaving in an absolute nightmare.
My thoughts are with you [there but for the grace of god and all that] and I just hope that someone comes to their senses and you don’t have to serve a custodial sentence and if this humble blog might be of any use to you, in any way, just ask.
+++ UPDATE : 21:50 +++
An excellent post, which provides a concise timeline of all the events leading up to today’s guilty verdict, can be read HERE. If anyone else has blogged on the issue then feel free to leave a link in the comments.
Many thanks to the hundreds of you that have tweeted and re-tweeted this post. Keep spreading the word. The more people who know about this … the better ;-)
+++ UPDATE : Sunday 21:22 +++
Regular readers Of the Max Farquar blog will know that I’m not much of a one for stat porn but at the time of this update more than 10,000 of you have tweeted or re-tweeted this blog post and dozens more have blogged about Olly Cromwell’s guilty verdict. As a result, a wider audience has been reached and a countrywide debate has begun on the ramifications of the ruling.
OK, so I admit to being a tad provocative with the title of this post but it has achieved what it was intended to do and, more importantly, it’s not a total lie. To prove the point, here is a quote from a post by Olly Cromwell, which was written today :
I was found guilty of sending said communication, and the judge in her ruling (paraphrasing) that she found the wording of my tweet grossly offensive and menacing. So yes I was convicted of using the word cunt and I was convicted for a throwaway remark on Twitter.
You can read his full post, ‘A Quick Summary of Events‘ by clicking the link HERE.
I freely admit that I’m not au fait enough with the details of what Bexley Council have or haven’t done to provoke Olly’s outburst (that’s for him and others to decide). I’m here to defend his right to have an opinion … and to voice that opinion. It’s his right. It’s my right. It’s your right. Whether we use a four letter word to convey it .. or not.
It’s called freedom of speech.
+++ UPDATE : 9th May 2011 +++
Olly Cromwell has now been sentenced … details HERE