Student jailed for offensive comments on Twitter

British football fans were shocked earlier this month when Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch during a match against Tottenham Hotspur on 17 March. The 23-year-old player had suffered a massive cardiac arrest and, incredibly, his heart stopped for 78 minutes as emergency medical teams struggled to stabilise his condition.

While much of the country was in shock, football fans of all teams united in support for the critically ill player, with many supporters from rival teams sending ‘get well’ messages, flowers, gifts and other symbols of their hope for his recovery. Social networks quickly filled up with messages expressing disbelief, but also offering support, with the Twitter hashtags #Pray4Muamba and #PrayForMuamba gaining enormous momentum as fans awaited news about the player’s collapse.


Fans have united in support for the ill player. Image via BBC Sport

But not everyone was sympathetic to Muamba’s condition. Swansea University student Liam Stacey chose to reflect on events by posting offensive comments on Twitter about the footballer. The first of his tweets read: “LOL. F*** Muamba. He’s dead!!!”, while further comments featured various racial slurs.

The tweets were quickly spotted by other users, who swiftly reported them to police forces across the United Kingdom. Perhaps recognising the backlash against him, Stacey attempted to delete his Twitter account - @liamstacey9, which has since been removed – but was subsequently arrested before he was able to do so.  


Liam Stacey, 21, in the light-coloured jacket. Image via Wales News Service

Stacey initially attempted to deny any knowledge of the tweets, telling police that his Twitter account had been hacked. However, he later confessed that he had been drinking earlier in the day, and was drunk when he posted the comments to Twitter, telling police: “I was at the bar when I heard what had happened to Muamba. I don’t know why I posted it. I’m not racist and some of my friends are from different cultural backgrounds.”

This morning, BBC News reported that Stacey has been jailed for 56 days for a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Fabrice Muamba, meanwhile, continues to recover in hospital, where he is currently in a “serious, but stable” condition. His Bolton team-mates will tonight replay the match against Tottenham that was suspended when he collapsed ten days ago.

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MightyJordan said,

Actually, he's Palestinian, so we could extradite him there, or to Jordan, where he was born.

What I understand from the papers is that he has a British passport. He is a Brit as much as anyone else on that island.

That's a good start. Now hopefully we can extend this to cover the endless amounts of keyboard warriors on YouTube and various other media

Androidslave said,
That's a good start. Now hopefully we can extend this to cover the endless amounts of keyboard warriors on YouTube and various other media

Ugh, YouTube, that would take down the entire UK court system!

ZakO said,
Why did this guy get jailed, yet the people who crash soldiers funerals/homecomings shouting hate, burning flags/poppies/etc are 'exercising free speech' and never get charged (one of many many examples: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/eng...eds/bucks/herts/8439541.stm)

The law was written specifically to protect minorities. That is why there are lot of Brits out there who would feel like Muslims in the country better protected than themselves.

ZakO said,
Why did this guy get jailed, yet the people who crash soldiers funerals/homecomings shouting hate, burning flags/poppies/etc are 'exercising free speech' and never get charged (one of many many examples: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/eng...eds/bucks/herts/8439541.stm)

Because those people are Muslims and/or Arabs.

Muslims get a free pass in the UK. Really, they get carte blanche to f*** things up without repercussions.


Welcome to the Most Holy United Sharia Kingdom of Britain.

Oh good grief...

That is nothing compared to the things people say on Twitter. Mostly..a lot of references to in-bred breeding...incest...and certain usages of animals. And that's just from people that lose games on their X-Box.

I have absolutely no sympathy for this guy. However, I'm hopeful that the relatively short prison sentence will allow him to reflect on his stupidity, and become a better person as a result.

Realistically speaking though it'll much more likely just remove any chance he had at being a functional member of society and instead force him in to a life of crime.

There is at lease one European country out there with absolute freedom of speech (with one exception - Holocaust denial) and that is the Netherlands. The current Dutch Prime Minister wants to decriminalize holocaust denial too, not because he doesn't believe in holocaust but because he believes in freedom of speech with no exceptions. I am sure there must be more European countries.

The reason why I am saying this is that the moment you criticize British laws that is against the freedom of speech, a lot of Brits say "Freedom of Speech is an American value". No, no, no. Freedom of Speech in Europe is as old as it is in the US.

The 1215 charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.
The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world, and it was Magna Carta (rather than other early concessions by the monarch) which survived to become a "sacred text".[3] In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not in general limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England[4] and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.[5]

Jerome Green said,
The 1215 charter required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today.
The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world, and it was Magna Carta (rather than other early concessions by the monarch) which survived to become a "sacred text".[3] In practice, Magna Carta in the medieval period did not in general limit the power of kings, but by the time of the English Civil War it had become an important symbol for those who wished to show that the King was bound by the law. It influenced the early settlers in New England[4] and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.[5]


And, unbelievably, I was taught that in the US public school system.

See why those that came across the pond to what became America made FREEDOM OF SPEECH the FIRST amendment? (not that that last 20 years of politicians give a d*mn).

The way I read this is that racists can incite, as long as they don't use commonly identifiable slurs. Then they're just asses.

You can be a racist, just don't sound like it.

My heart goes out to the guy who collapsed though.

The other users that reported him are quite frankly guilty of crimes against humanity in my opinion, and should be jailed indefinitely.

Censorship is one of the most heinous crimes there is.

In the UK, racisim in football is VERY frowned upon.

That being said, like mentioned, 900000000000000000 other jackass say far worst things on the internet and nothing really happens. They are words, nothing else.

His Twitter account should have been banned but thats about it.

htcz said,
In the UK, racisim in football is VERY frowned upon.

That being said, like mentioned, 900000000000000000 other jackass say far worst things on the internet and nothing really happens. They are words, nothing else.

His Twitter account should have been banned but thats about it.


You're being reasonable so you obviously don't work for a gov't.

Just out of curiosity, if in the UK you jail someone just for a post on twitter, how do you prosecute murderers, rapists, pedophiles? You torture them or something?

Heartripper said,
Just out of curiosity, if in the UK you jail someone just for a post on twitter, how do you prosecute murderers, rapists, pedophiles? You torture them or something?

You jail them ... for longer. Really, was that hard?

Kirkburn said,

You jail them ... for longer. Really, was that hard?

Well, if you start jailing people for such insults you'd get half of your population in jail and nothing changed. Even a fine is enough for something i bet Muamba himself doesn't care about.

Heartripper said,
you'd get half of your population in jail and nothing changed
No, you wouldn't get half the population in jail, because most people do not espouse insulting rhetoric. Plus, I imagine it would actually change a lot - but that doesn't mean I support such a thing.

Kirkburn said,
No, you wouldn't get half the population in jail, because most people do not espouse insulting rhetoric..

They don't do it usually, but it may happen, in a moment of anger or stress, that you insult someone but you didn't really mean it. Yeah that guy was drunk, but I think he was stupid rather than a criminal.

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