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Sunday, December 05, 2010

The whole "law" thing is very confusing

I am not a lawyer, hence I don't understand the English legal system in the slightest, since the system is constructed by and for them.

There was a fuss among the twitterati, led by Stephen Fry, because a chap twittered that he was going to blow up Nottingham airport. The police, who presumably monitor twitter diligently, arrested him and he was found guilty.

A man who posted a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport is facing a £3,000 bill after losing an appeal against his conviction.

[From BBC News - Man in Twitter bomb threat against airport loses appeal]

A few days later there was another case, involving the journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, following on from some of her typically deranged ranting on the BBC.

A Conservative Birmingham City councillor has been arrested over allegations he called on Twitter for a female writer to be stoned to death.

[From BBC News - Tory councillor arrested over Twitter stoning post]

Now, in both of these cases, the person arrested was clearly joking, although the "joke" was pretty poor. Contrast this with the treatment of some people who don't appear to be joking at all.

On November 12, he wrote: ‘Burn your apartment with your family tied to the couch. And slit your throat, so when you scream, only blood comes out.’

[From Facebook death threats: 5 Muslim boys and white girl excluded from school | Mail Online]

Facebook "is the problem"? Oh please. I couldn't find any reference to this story on the BBC, so I've posted the Daily Mail link instead. But I'm curious: why weren't these people arrested? Could a lawyer please help me to understand the difference between the cases? I really don't want to fall foul of the law, but there is a possibility that I may call for someone to murdered in the future, and i want to make sure that I do it the right way. So am I on safe ground if I tweet that I'm going to cut your throat, but not if I tweet that I'm going to blow you up or stone you?

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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