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Sean Duffy  (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
Sean Duffy, of Reading, Berkshire, pleaded guilty to two charges associated with trolling social networking sites for a dead teenage girl

A UK man has been jailed for 18 weeks after trolling pages set up on social networks for girls who have died. 

Sean Duffy, of Reading, Berkshire, 
posted negative comments on social networking site pages in remembrance of girls who have died, such as Worcester teenager Natasha MacBryde who killed herself by throwing her body under a train due to bullying reports the BBC. 

Duffy targeted the bereaved relatives of the deceased, which were people he did not know. Duffy would send hurtful emails or post provocative posts on sites like Facebook and YouTube in hopes of prompting emotionally loaded responses. 

In MacBryde's case, he called her a "slut" in one of his posts. He also posted a video on YouTube called "Tasha the Tank Engine," which depicted the children's character Thomas the Tank Engine with MacBryde's face on it. 

Duffy pleaded guilty on two counts of sending a communication of an offensive or indecent nature. The charges were related to the Facebook and YouTube posts about MacBryde. Duffy has been jailed for 18 weeks. 

The case places a spotlight on cyberbullying and trolling, which have become increasingly problematic in recent years as social networks and other electronic communication mediums become more widely used. 

"People feel 
protected by anonymity and the true nature of people comes to the fore," said Fevzi Turkalp, a technology expert from gadgetdetective.com. "Someone will go onto an Apple website and say something derogatory about Apple, knowing full well people on there will be fans of Apple, in order to provoke a response."

"Misuse of Internet sites can destroy teachers' confidence and professional reputation and provide yet another vehicle for false allegations against staff," added Chris Keates, General Security of the NASUWT teacher's union. "New cases of abuse, harassment and humiliation are emerging all the time."

Duffy never knew MacBryde or her family.



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RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By Sazabi19 on 9/14/2011 1:46:05 PM , Rating: 3
Uh... he's right. I don't know UK law but here he is entitled to say it. It is very rude and socially unacceptable what he did, but nothing against the law UNLESS they could get him for slander/defomation of character. Other than that he would just be a public enemy and liable of getting the crap beat out of him. Sending him to jail is luidicrus and the that is showing the law and govt. getting out of control. Again, if there are laws like that in the UK fine, they acted in the apropriate way. We have bigger things to worry about than trolls.


By lolmuly on 9/14/2011 5:05:28 PM , Rating: 1
even slander/defamation is a joke. Those terms are so broad that they could conceivably cover anything, and why should anyone be allowed to sue over internet speech?

If something offends you, stay away from it. If someone attacks you, defend yourself with your own words, not a lawyer's. If your online identity gets completely destroyed, so what? Create a new identity and start again.

Plain and simple, people don't have the right to have their personal honor defended by the law. With as far as the internet reaches, and the very depth/scope of the information out there, pretending that it's possible to police it is ludicrous.


RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By TSS on 9/14/2011 5:09:30 PM , Rating: 4
Is this really such a bad thing? I don't see this guy going to funerals in real life doing the same thing. I'll bet if he did, he would get the crap beaten out of him. And he could sue all he want, since he provoked the reaction he'll lose.

But the internet creates a safe wall. It's like the same guy at the same funeral, only now behind bulletproof glass and nothing you can do will shut him up and you can't get to him. Flinging insults back only feeds his need for attention. I sincerely doubt he couldn't get around a siteban. Now what are you going to do? Look him up, travel hundreds of miles just to beat a guy up? You know the judge will side with him in that case, citing "it's only an internet troll" (only in fancy legal speak).

So what then? You can't hurt him, but he can hurt you, with no reprecussions. Is that really justice?


RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By lolmuly on 9/14/2011 5:31:15 PM , Rating: 4
If i can sue somebody for saying something hurtful, then i should be able to sue every girl that's ever dumped me.

Just because somebody hurts your feelings doesn't mean they did anything wrong. If it's really that painful, then don't read anything from them. Better yet stay off the internet all together, you do have that right.


RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By YashBudini on 9/14/2011 6:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because somebody hurts your feelings doesn't mean they did anything wrong.


Fair enough, but what's right about this?

quote:
Duffy targeted the bereaved relatives of the deceased,
which were people he did not know


It's premature to send him to jail but clearly he's got major issues. He's a powder keg that has the potential for very serious escalation of his anti-social behavior. A psych exam is in order. I'm willing to bet he's been a freak all his life, and 'Net anonymity just lit the fuse.

As for civil court, one you need money to buy decent representation, assuming there's some kind of precedent. Second, if this is what he does unprovoked, what will he do if he is provoked? Hence the psych exam.


RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By lolmuly on 9/14/2011 9:28:14 PM , Rating: 1
perhaps a psychiatric exam would be appropriate. However if he really has as many issues as you are inferring from the story then I am sure that a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a counselor, a boss, a co-worker, or anyone else that knows him personally would have already pursued this.

Somebody across the internet with hurt feelings is in no position to make this kind of call. Should we order up a state paid, court ordered, psych evaluation for every troll on the internet now? The guy's probably just an asshole

Don't feed the trolls.


By YashBudini on 9/14/2011 10:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am sure that a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, a counselor, a boss, a co-worker, or anyone else that knows him personally would have already pursued this.

I don't know where you live but bullying in the US often occurs unabated, both in person and cyber.

quote:
The guy's probably just an a$$hole

He's past that point.

quote:
Somebody across the internet with hurt feelings is in no position to make this kind of call.

Which is why the authorities are informed and then they handle it accordingly, which they didn't.

quote:
Don't feed the trolls.

I don't think you see what he's doing in the correct light, he's kicking people when they are down. An emotional response is guaranteed, and a bad one at that, which is why you don't see him having the guts to do this in person.


By TSS on 9/16/2011 8:57:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
f it's really that painful, then don't read anything from them


Fuck you, You cunt.

If that offended you you shouldn't have read it. See how that works? You can't not-read anything and know what it says and wether it will potentially hurt you or not.

And it's not a "freedom" if i should get off the internet because you don't have manners. In fact it's the exact opposite of freedom - it's imprisonment. For i would be in a prison of my own world letting nobody in because they could hurt me. And trust me, i've been in that situation, it doesn't make life any prettier... or anything like life at all.

You don't have a right to not-get-hurt. You do have a right to defend yourself against getting hurt. Which was excersized here.


By YashBudini on 9/14/2011 6:15:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
. I'll bet if he did, he would get the crap beaten out of him.

And here's a twist, while beating the crap out of him may get you arrested, what jury would convict you? But as you stated he has no deterrent on the 'Net.


RE: Who gets to decide what is offensive?
By BugblatterIII on 9/14/2011 8:25:07 PM , Rating: 1
It's against the Communication Act 2003.

I think this guy was out to cause harm to his targets for his own gratification. It's assault even if it's not physical. I'm glad to see the little turd locked up.

Saying it threatens free speech is like saying locking up someone who commits GBH stops the rest of us from giving someone a friendly punch on the arm.

I know I'm going against the general feeling here and will get rated down, but I really don't see this judgment leading to a curtailment of our freedom to rip into Pirks :o)


By themaster08 on 9/15/2011 2:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
It's funny, because they say "I don't know UK law" "I've never been to the UK" however they're all quick to jump on these articles and give their ill-informed opinion about our supposed state run news, churches and whatever other crap they manage to make up in their deluded minds.

Why is it that no one seems to be made accountable for their actions on the internet? What if that was their family? How would it make them feel? Would they feel harrassed? Would they want this guy locked up then? How is this idiot's verbal disrespect and abuse not a crime? Because that's what it is. It's abuse.

It's alright them spouting their internet freedoms, until something happens to them. It's about time actions like this were accounted for. It's actions like this that have driven many people on the internet to actually commit suicide!

Hey, if it makes them feel better about the absolute mess of their own country....


"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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