Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind on Social Media

John A Sinnott Solicitor, social media law

Interesting piece about a case in Lancashire in The Independent recently. . .

Two brothers who mocked a judge on Facebook because she did not send them to prison were later recalled and handed two years each!

Just 40 minutes after receiving a suspended jail term from Judge Beverley Lunt earlier this month, a defendant posted “Cannot believe my luck 2 year suspended sentence beats the 3 year jail yes pal! Beverly Lunt go [expletives deleted].”

His brother then wrote: “What a day it’s been Burnley crown court! Up ur **** aha nice 2 year suspended…”

The defendants, from Lancashire, were called back to Preston Crown Court for a review of their sentence once the remarks had been brought to the attention of the judge. She had previously heard that they felt remorse for the offences they had committed. “Each of the posts indicate they have not changed at all,” the judge said. “They have not taken on board anything or learned any responsibility … Their tenor was boastful and jeering, and the only reasonable inference was that they thought they had somehow fooled and misled the court.”

Defence lawyer Daniel Prowse said the comments were made when both were “sufficiently emotionally affected” in the immediate aftermath of escaping an immediate prison term. Arguing that it was not necessary to revoke the suspended jail terms, he said the subsequent reporting of the case had led to them becoming “national, if not international, figures of ridicule”. “They, frankly, will never live this down,” he said.