It is an offence, inter alia, to send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.
During a recent prosecution, Robert Whippe was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to such illegal activity during the Euros 2020 Football Tournament.
Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors outlines the case.
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The Circumstances | Kangs Indecent Conduct Defence Solicitors
- In July 2021 England played Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 Competition which had been delayed as the result of the Covid 19 Pandemic.
- Following the defeat of the England team, an ex-England football player, Rio Ferdinand, was racially abused on Twitter by Robert Whippe who sent grossly offensive messages.
- In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Whippe was ordered to pay £120 in ‘symbolic’ compensation to Mr Ferdinand as well as £85 in costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
Matthew Gauntlett of the CPS said:
‘Whippe committed a racist attack on Rio Ferdinand as he was giving his expert opinion and commentary on the Euro 2020 final. It was completely unwarranted and part of a disease in football that the CPS is playing its part to eradicate. I would like to thank Rio Ferdinand for his cooperation and support for this prosecution in what must have been a distressing time for him.’
The Relevant Law | Kangs Malicious Communication Defence Solicitors
The Communications Act 2003 provides:
Section 127: Improper use of public electronic communications network
‘(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.
(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—
(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
(b) causes such a message to be sent; or
(c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.
(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to anything done in the course of providing a programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42))’.
How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors
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If you require any advice or assistance in relation to any allegations of criminal activity, please feel free to contact our team through any of the following: