21 year old student Liam Stacey got drunk on the day Fabrice Muamba collapsed and posted 'LOL. Fuck Muamba. He's dead!!!' on his Twitter account followed by vile racist comments as other tweeters hit back at him and has now been sent to jail for 56 days. Something feels excessive about this.
Now i don't condone Stacey conduct, it was reprehensible and appalling to publicly mock someone who was widely believed to be dying and he fully deserved punishment, but a custodial sentence seems too harsh when there was other options available to the judge.
A tough community sentence or even a suspended sentence with the judge ordering him to apologise to Muamba would probably have sufficed but now he has a criminal record, has been thrown off his University course and has had his life ruined all for being an offensive idiot.
Maybe i am in the minority and most people share the view of ex-footballer Stan Collymore who said that 'Seems to be a few who think that calling someone a W*g, ni***r or c**n and being arrested for it is an infringement of Freedom of Speech. Soppy liberal tree huggers. Don’t have a clue.'
Now i'm not trying to defend Stacey's freedom of speech, i think too many people hide behind that in order to cause offence, i'm saying that Stacey may have been a distasteful, odious moron after a few drinks but should his life have been ruined for it?
Stan Collymore of all people should know all about a few seconds of madness, that was his excuse when he punched and kicked his girlfriend in the head in a Paris Bar a few years ago. He also suggested that having had too much to drink may have been partly responsible for his shameful behaviour for which he escaped any jail time.
Not to excuse Stacey but fining the racist idiot, which he clearly is, should have been enough but jailing the student is disproportionate unless all Tweeters like this are now going to be pursued, then I would look back at this ruling as a first and very welcome step towards removing hatred from the internet.
At the moment, though, the sentence seems to be more of a knee jerk aimed to please those with the harsh views of Collymore than out of any strategy to fight online bigotry and maybe there should be some cause for concern because it isn't the soppy liberal tree huggers that are most likely to write racist abuse, it's idiots with right wing, bang 'em up views like the woman beating Collymore who perhaps should show some empathy for someone else's few seconds of drunken madness.