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#1
So there's been some discussion on here regarding free speech differences betwixt countries, primarily between the U.S. and the U.K.

I just saw this recent BBC news article and thought it a fantastic example of UK speech laws in action.

A Lancashire man who posted offensive comments on Facebook about missing five-year-old April Jones has been jailed for 12 weeks.

Matthew Woods, 20, made a number of derogatory posts about April and missing Madeline McCann.

He appeared at Chorley Magistrates' Court where he admitted sending a grossly offensive public electronic communication.

Woods, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, was handed the maximum sentence.

Chairman of the bench, magistrate Bill Hudson, said his comments were so serious and "abhorrent" that he deserved the longest sentence they could pass, less a third to give credit for his early guilty plea.


Source

..still unclear whether he will serve more time than the man who killed her.

Now, I'd like to know what you fellow Americans, as well as UK citizens think about this. If you support this government action, I'd be very interested to hear your reasoning, because I come from a very different background, and to me, its absolutely preposterous, even scary, that you can be imprisoned in the UK for making derogotory comments on Facebook.

So, what are your thoughts on this, Pit? Ridiculous or reasonable?
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#2
Ridiculous. I can't see any other way around it.

The guy's a douche, sure. But if you were jailed for being a douche, there'd be no denizens of the Pit.

edit: After reading the rest of the posts in this thread, just read mine and pretend everyone quoted it and said /thread.
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Last edited by eGraham at Oct 8, 2012,
#3
Jailed for being an asshat?

I'm in trouble.
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#4
Ridiculous.
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#5
Read about that earlier. It's pretty disturbing you can get jailed for that sort of comment. Happened quite a lot in UK lately, people getting arrested for posts on twitter or facebook that aren't offensive at all, or people who posted things while drunk.

Shit if they were to scan UG for offensive posts we'd all get arrested, and I doubt anyone here means all the offensive, asburd things they say here.
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#8
That's fucking retarded


Seriously though, that guys is a cunt. What the hell do I care if he gets arrested?
___

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she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
Last edited by WCPhils at Oct 8, 2012,
#10
I realise it's wrong but with the people that get convicted in these ways I have very little sympathy for them.
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#12
That's pretty insane. Orwell was right after all....
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#13
I'm all for free speech, but the problem with it is that it can include harassment, which, in turn, may drive people to kill themselves, or get to a point where they are so misanthropic that they shoot up a few schools and what not.
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#14
Didn't know you could get arrested for 'being insensitive' or 'hurting other peoples feelings'.
o()o

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#15
I would say its ridiculous... unless he was talking about him actually kidnapping the child, or knowing their whereabouts
#16
I think it's quite clear that the judicial/political establishment in the UK is struggling with the internet - the sheer number of these cases in recent years show they're trying to work out where to draw the line on online cuntery.

Which sort of highlights the problem with policing offence like this. This is one crime that I think the court of public opinion is perfectly qualified to handle.
#17
****ing stupid, he shouldn't have been jailed for 12 weeks, even if it was insensitive.

I'm still not convinced that America is 'freer' and that the UK is a symbol of oppression like the posts in this thread would try to lead me to believe. And how is 12 weeks longer than the sentence a murderer would receive?
#18
Quote by WCPhils
That's fucking retarded


Seriously though, that guys is a cunt. What the hell do I care if he gets arrested?

If you lived in the UK you would care. As an American, this doesn't affect you at all though. It's pretty ****ed up how a "first world" country like that can jail you for offensive things said. I've said worse shit than whatever he said on the net, I'm sure, and it's just incredible how I could've gone to jail for those comments in the UK. What is this Nazi Germany?
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Last edited by naedauuf at Oct 8, 2012,
#19
Saying things too offensive in the UK? I didn't think it was possible.

Exhibit A:
www.sickipedia.org


Edit:
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#20
Quote by naedauuf
If you lived in the UK you would care. As an American, this doesn't affect you at all though. It's pretty ****ed up how a "first world" country like that can jail you for offensive things said. I've said worse shit than whatever he said on the net, I'm sure, and it's just incredible how I could've gone to jail for those comments in the UK. What is this Nazi Germany?

If what he said (and from what I can tell, it was just a Maddie McCann joke with a different name), I've probably had quiz team names worth 6 weeks or so of jail time.
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#21
ridiculous. absolutely and completely unreasonable. that's not cool, britain needs to get their shit together
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#23
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Fun (and genuinely true) fact. I was the second person in Northern Ireland to be arrested for (allegedly) harassing someone via Facebook.

I find out on Friday morning whether I will be the second person convicted as well.

what u do
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On the come up we were listening to Grateful Dead and the music started passing through my bowel and out my arsehole as this violet stream of light. I shat music. It was beautiful.
#24
Quote by Kensai
Read about that earlier. It's pretty disturbing you can get jailed for that sort of comment. Happened quite a lot in UK lately, people getting arrested for posts on twitter or facebook that aren't offensive at all, or people who posted things while drunk.

Shit if they were to scan UG for offensive posts we'd all get arrested, and I doubt anyone here means all the offensive, asburd things they say here.


this

also i hate the jews

they fabricated the holocaust

#25
The UK does have the freedom of speech in the same way as the states. We have what is called a negative right to freedom of expression, but as soon as that is abused you can be locked up. If you harrass someone you're going to get locked up.

I don't agree with the sentence, but even with the right to say what you want, some things shouldn't be said. Especially about a 5 year old girl with cerebal palsy who's been kidnapped.
#26
Quote by Casketcreep
Fun (and genuinely true) fact. I was the second person in Northern Ireland to be arrested for (allegedly) harassing someone via Facebook.

I find out on Friday morning whether I will be the second person convicted as well.

Awesome claim to fame.
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#27
That's one thing the USA has over (all?) other countries- freedom of speech. I've read stories of people in the UK and Australia being arrested for writing about illegal acts as a joke and I cannot get my mind around that. Speech should be unconditionally free.

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#28
Look, let's just say it: he's an asshole.


But if you think he should go to jail for making "offensive" comments then you have no understanding of free speech.
#29
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Awesome claim to fame.


Yeah, not one I'm particularly proud of.

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what u do


It's a very long story, and not one that I care to get into. It involves an ex who treated me rather badly and we'll leave it at that.

The other person and I settled it with an Undertaking, but I found out a few months after that the PPS (public prosecution service) can still convict me for it, completely independent of the person who was pressing the charges. So yeah, court on Friday for it. I've been assured that because we sorted it out it'll not go anywhere, still a pretty daunting situation to be in.


Quote by jthm_guitarist
That's one thing the USA has over (all?) other countries- freedom of speech.

Are you being serious? I can't tell.
Last edited by Casketcreep at Oct 8, 2012,
#30
Quote by Malchius
The UK does have the freedom of speech in the same way as the states. We have what is called a negative right to freedom of expression, but as soon as that is abused you can be locked up. If you harrass someone you're going to get locked up.

I don't agree with the sentence, but even with the right to say what you want, some things shouldn't be said. Especially about a 5 year old girl with cerebal palsy who's been kidnapped.

So basically, you say this guy should be jailed because you didn't like what he said. That's exactly what everyone in this thread is saying is so ****ing stupid. You get your feelings hurt, so he deserves to have 12 weeks of his life taken away? ****ing bullshit.
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This is the best idea I have ever heard. Ever.

Naedauuf for president people.


#31
Quote by Malchius
The UK does have the freedom of speech in the same way as the states. We have what is called a negative right to freedom of expression, but as soon as that is abused you can be locked up. If you harrass someone you're going to get locked up.

I don't agree with the sentence, but even with the right to say what you want, some things shouldn't be said. Especially about a 5 year old girl with cerebal palsy who's been kidnapped.

Quote by BBC News
Chorley magistrates heard members of the public were so upset about his posts they reported them to the police.

About 50 people went to his home. He was arrested at a separate address.
|Because, of course, the mob is always right.
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#32
Quote by naedauuf
So basically, you say this guy should be jailed because you didn't like what he said. That's exactly what everyone in this thread is saying is so ****ing stupid. You get your feelings hurt, so he deserves to have 12 weeks of his life taken away? ****ing bullshit.


I didn't say that he should be jailed. I stated what the law says. My opinion is different from from the law, but even though you can say horrific things about someone doesn't mean you should say it.
#33
The first guy in Northern Ireland to be arrested for a post on facebook was a guy who was drunk and jokingly referred to his fiancé as a fenian.

FIANCÉ!

It's absolutely ridiculous. And although it's a word that's heavily frowned upon over here he clearly meant it in jest.
#34
Quote by naedauuf
If you lived in the UK you would care. As an American, this doesn't affect you at all though. It's pretty ****ed up how a "first world" country like that can jail you for offensive things said. I've said worse shit than whatever he said on the net, I'm sure, and it's just incredible how I could've gone to jail for those comments in the UK. What is this Nazi Germany?



Guy is just lucky the girl's dad didn't murder him.
___

Quote by The_Blode
she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
#35
In short, they arrest these guys so they don't have to go out and catch the real criminals that might do criminal stuff like hurt them. It keeps the numbers up.
#36
Quote by WCPhils
That's fucking retarded


Seriously though, that guys is a cunt. What the hell do I care if he gets arrested?

Because first they came for the trolls....
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I swear this guy in particular writes for the telegraph or some shit.

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#37
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In short, they arrest these guys so they don't have to go out and catch the real criminals that might do criminal stuff like hurt them. It keeps the numbers up.


Or rather, because the evidence is right there, open and public, directly connected to a page filled with their personal details. So it's not too hard to find them.
#38
Yeah, its bull. I live in britain and we deal with stuff like this alot. I dont agree with everything america does, but i do admire the freedom of speech you have, its something we could do with.
#40
Quote by magnus_maximus
Britain likes to enforce it's policy of "keep it cricket, chaps", and clearly this was most definitely not cricket.

As much as I love free speech, some people take advantage of it with no intention other than causing hurt. To that extent, he deserves what he got.


No, if anything he deserved an ass kicking. The law should not be involved
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