Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling announces new measures allowing magistrates to send cases of internet abuse and threats to crown courts, boosting the maximum prison time .
The Guardian reports:-‘Internet trolls who spread “venom” on social media could be jailed for up to two years, the justice secretary Chris Grayling has said as he announced plans to quadruple the maximum prison sentence.
Grayling, who spoke of a “baying cybermob”, said the changes will allow magistrates to pass on the most serious cases to crown courts.
The changes, which will be introduced as amendments to the criminal justice and courts bill, will mean the maximum custodial sentence of six months will be increased to 24 months.
Grayling cited the case of Chloe Madeley, the daughter of television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, who was trolled after she defended her mother’s remarks about the convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Finnigan said Evans, who was released from prison last week after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, should be allowed to resume his career as a footballer because his rape had not been violent and he had not caused “any bodily harm”. Chloe Madeley faced rape threats on social media after she defended her mother’s remarks.
Grayling told the Mail on Sunday: “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the six-month sentence.’
However, harsh Twitter troll sentences could infringe on freedom of speech, experts warn. The telegraph reports,’Balance must be struck between catching vile abusers and protecting the right to ‘vigorously’ express an opinion experts say as the Justice Secretary announces two year sentances for worst Twitter trolls..