Peter Nunn guilty of Twitter 'trolling'

Peter Nunn guilty of Twitter 'trolling'

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Introduction

We have looked previously at various cases of people convicted of sending abusive messages on the internet (Twitter being the general medium of choice). On 2nd September 2014 Peter Nunn was convicted of a s127 Communications Act 2003 offence – sending “a message … that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character“.

The case has been adjourned for sentence to the 29th September. Mr Nunn has been warned that he faces a prison sentence.

 

What had he said?

As is often the case with these sorts of offences, we don’t have the exact details. We know that he re-tweeted “messages threatening to sexually assault Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy“.

A few samples were given – “One message posted described the “best way to rape a witch” … He also wrote: “If you can’t threaten to rape a celebrity, what is the point in having them?

It seems that the defence was that “he was “satirising” the Twitter backlash to the campaign.” This seems a little bit optimistic. I imagine that there were also arguments about Art 10 ECHR and freedom of speech.

 

Why did he have a trial – why not plead guilty?

Well, that’s his right (although he may well have been advised to plead guilty). It is actually good to see someone have a trial and argue the point about freedom of speech – it’s an important thing that needs to be addressed, and hopefully (for our sake) it will be appealed higher so that we can get some further guidance from the higher courts as to the limits of free speech.

In a case like this, it is not one message that makes the offence – it is the combination of all of them. Which is why it is very hard to judge whether he should have been convicted. The two comments quoted above are clearly unpleasant, but equally clearly fall below what is criminal.

It’s the nature of the beast that it may not be possible for the media to fully report the tweet – although there are ways to do it, and the media could be a bit better in doing this.

 

Will he go to prison?

He probably should. I say this not because I think he should go to prison (I don’t think he should), but given that Ms Storey and Mr Nimmo went to prison for similar offending on a plea of guilty Mr Nunn should probably also (especially without the credit for a plea of guilty).

Having said that, there could be all sorts of mitigation for Mr Nunn that will be put forward which may result in a non-custodial sentence. Also, the amount of time that has passed since the incident may mean that there is less publicity, and less pressure for a custodial sentence.

We will come back to this at the end of the month …

 

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

33 COMMENTS

  1. According to the Guardian report, “He also branded her an ‘evil witch’.”

    He should count himself lucky not to have faced charges brought under the Official Secrets Act.

    • Official secret two women per week murdered year on year by their partner or ex-partner. Men should come with the government health warning. Shhh! It’s a secret.

      • @LES

        It simply isn’t true that two women a week are murdered by their intimate partners in the UK. Worldwide, there are probably a great many more than two such murders though. However, men also get murdered by their female intimate partners.

        Far from being an “official secret”, the myth that two women a week are culpably homicided (not necessarily “murdered”) by their intimate partners in the UK is a conflated statistic dredged from a very old official report, The British Crime Survey, about one particularly bad twelve month period (2000 – 2001, I believe), in which the total deaths of women as a result of intimate partner violence did indeed peak at almost exactly 2 per week on average.

        Far from being an official secret, it is an assertion that is still being repeated even by some officials (a female former DPP amongst them), but, more often, by gender-feminist activists hell-bent on undermining what little remains of good relations between the sexes. I come across it every few days, in the mass media. Secret my ass!

        This two-a-week figure includes all female deaths, apart from suicides, in which intimate partner violence was a cause. It includes murdered women, women whose homicides were manslaughters rather than murders, and (probably about half of the deaths, based upon general pattern of intimate partner abuse, which is more or less a 50/50 phenomenon according to surveys), women killed in self-defence by male victims of female-perpetrated intimate partner violence. The fact that 105 women each died in one of these several ways during that period 13 years ago, is tragic, but Angry Harry will enable you to get a sense of proportion about this, at

        http://www.angryharry.com/esDomesticViolenceUKAFewTruths.htm?note

        and

        http://www.angryharry.com/Men-Victims-Of-Domestic-Violence.htm

        You will learn that 35 men (not counting suicides) lost their lives in outbreaks of intimate partner violence in the same period. You will also learn how tiny is the number of deaths from intimate partner violence, compared to other causes of death.

        Elsewhere, you will learn that if one adds together those who die directly from intimate partner violence and those victims of intimate partner violence who cannot take any more of the violence, and take their own lives because of that, then the male fatalities actually outnumber the female fatalities.

        Intimate partner violence is a serious problem, but it certainly isn’t the so-called “gender violence” that those who preach a feminist doctrine would like to hoodwink the public into believing, in an emotive attempt to justify further disadvantaging the male sex, who are victims enough already of such stereotyping, and outright discrimination. To present it as such is mischievous.

        Please don’t trot out that (at best) half-truth again here. Please do some independent research and educate yourself, instead of relying on soundbites filched from deceitful so-called “fact sheets” published by feminists, for heinous political purposes. Otherwise, nobody will like you.

        • Two women per week in the UK are killed (I call it murdered) by their partner or ex partner. Slain on the front line of male violence against women. Men should come with a government health warning but shhh it’s an official secret! Happy to help.

          • @ LES

            “male violence against women”

            Let us pretend, as a thought experiment, that “male violence against women” a is satisfying sound bite, for summarising usefully what is quite a wide range of mishaps in the real world. What is your preferred solution to the said problem?

            (1) Exterminating all males, reminiscent of Herod and the Pharaoh in power when Moses was an infant?

            (2) Exterminating all females?

            (3) As the Public Sector Equality Duty puts it (in the Equality Act s149), fostering good relations between men and women?

            (4) Something else that I haven’t thought of yet?

            What is you own preferred solution to the “male violence against women” problem. What are you doing, to further your own preferred solution to the said problem? What would you like me to do, different from what I have been doing all of my adult life?

      • How many men are murdered by their ex-partners? It is a criminal statistic that if we are murdered it is mostly likely to be committed by our spouse or someone who has had a sexual or romantic relationship with us, or the person with the most to gain from our deaths, eg opportunity and motive.

        • @ Claire

          “How many men are murdered by their ex-partners?”

          Your question is problematic, because it refers to “murder” rather than “homicide”, so (for example) a plea bargain that led to a murder charge being dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to manslaughter would not feature in the final figure. Secondly, you ask about ex-partners, but LES has been talking about present partners (and wrongly referring to all killings as murders), even killings in self-defence, provocation manslaughters and diminished responsibility manslaughters.

          A better question is: How many men die as a result of intimate partner violence? The answer is, more than there are women who die, if one includes the suicides of intimate partner violence victims, but only about a third as many men killed as women are killed, if one only includes deaths caused *directly* by intimate partner violence. Since quoting the 2000-2001 British Crime Survey figures best suits feminists, who get a disproportionate share of media attention, activists from both sides tend to know those 2000-2001 figures off by heart. In that year, the ratio of male-to-female deaths caused directly by intimate partner violence was 25% : 75%.

          Many (if not nearly all) such deaths occur in the course of severe and *mutual* intimate partner violence, in which a woman more often than not *starts* a physical fight, and a man defends himself proportionately (justifiable homicide, self-defence), or defends himself disproportionately (probably charged as an unlawful act accidental manslaughter), or loses his temper and retaliates viciously (which could be charged as murder, or provocation manslaughter, or diminished responsibility manslaughter).

          The above statistic, about three times as many women losing a fight-to-the-death between people who should be loving one another, not exchanging blows, are based on studies in the UK, or elsewhere in the English-speaking world. I have recently been in touch with the organisers of a “Stop Violence Against Women” exhibition, one of whom is from the Argentine, so I have looked further afield in my recent attempts to educate myself and the exhibition organisers, who have tended to use false statistics like LES’ two-a-week and Dan’s 95% male perpetration, in order to bolster the feminist narrative that intimate partner violence is predominantly what some of them insist on calling “gender violence”, because stirring up gender politics and gender war is their bread and butter. In different cultures, and especially the “black spot” of the Argentine itself, which has a rather macho culture, the feminist narrative, that intimate partner violence is predominantly a case of violent men beating up defenceless women, which is a downright lie in the UK in modern times, is alas far more true to life.

          I hope that this helps.

  2. It seems men would now get a custodial sentence just for mocking a woman.

    A rhetorical question mocking a celebrity is not a rape threat, surely?

    Is a retweet of a tweet mocking a celebrity is surely not a rape threat?

    Would any reasonable woman have considered any of the tweets a credible rape threat?

    Are there no reasonable women left in this country?

    The world has gone mad.

    • “It’s only banter, can’t you take a joke love” Goodness why would a woman feel threatened by a rape threat what’s the matter with women these days… ad nauseam. I wonder what distinguishes a threat from a non-threat? probably when perpetrator is in the dock trying to wriggle out of a custodial sentence with a face that looks like evil personified. I hope she gives him a lengthy sentence send a message to all the other “freedom of speech” check your privilege (cos it will NEVER happen to you) misogynists out there.

  3. You were happy to mock threats to rape Claire Khaw the actions of a rape apologist. Happy to clarify.

  4. With domestic killings (and domestic violence generally), the vast majo rity of perpetrators are male (say 95%?). The leading murderers of both men and women are men (probably in equal amounts) – here we know that about 95% of those convicted of murder are men.

    That doesn’t mean that the vast majority of men are perpetrators. About 0.00032% of British men kill their partners or former partner every year – that’s a small number (and that’s taking the figure of 100 domestic killings a year – it’s less than that as the murder rate has gone down).

    Every murder is one too many of course, but I’m not sure it requires a health warning?

    • By which I mean it’s important to look at absolute rather than relative risk. It’s true that you are 9 times more likely to be killed by a man than a woman (or what the exact figure is). But it’s also true that you are 0.0007% more likely to be killed by a man than a woman.

      One of those figures sounds a lot worse than the other.

    • @ Dan Bunting

      “With domestic killings (and domestic violence generally), the vast majority of perpetrators are male (say 95%?). ”

      Dan, that simply isn’t true. You are using a fictitious, made-up statistic. The evidence suggests that a simple majority (but only slightly more than half) of incidents of intimate partner violence, are initiated by women. More than half of the fatalities caused by intimate partner violence are of men. If one discounts the suicides of victims of intimate partner violence who kill themselves because they see no other escape, then three quarters of those killed are female. However, a great many of these will be the victims of there own initiation of violence, killed by their victims, who were acting in self-defence.

  5. This chap did not kill anyone and the person to whom he addressed his loathsome messages was not his partner or ex. I’m struggling to see the relevance of the stats about men killing their exes, accurate or not, to this wretched little tale.

    • It came about Andrew, when John started to make a joke about rape threats made to women and trying to trivialise it and then eventually moved on to denial about male violence against women. My response that a threat to rape is not a joke and the stats bear this out (two women per week killed by a partner or ex partner) therefore male threats should be taken seriously was the resultant reality check. Happy to help. Yours in Sisterhood.

      • @ LES

        “John started to make a joke about rape threats made to women and trying to trivialise it and then eventually moved on to denial about male violence against women”

        I have never made a joke “about” rape threats made to women. I have never “denied” that some male persons have occasionally behaved violently towards other persons who happened to be women at the time.

        I admit (for the sake of argument) briefly to making a joke, at the expense of a politician who happened to be female, as the first-ever person to make any comment at all on this page.

        If, in your eyes, making a joke on a page that mentioned what you call (alleged) “rape threats made to women” amounts to “trying to trivialise” all “rape threats made to women”, then that’s *your* problem, not mine.

        There is a cliche abroad that a GOSH (good sense of humour) is quality many women say that they seek in a man, on dating sites for example. With such a dim view of my sense of humour as yours, I guess you are never likely to submit to enjoying a life as MY exclusive sex object. Aw shucks! Will you marry me? I sincerely hope not!

        Now, joking aside, have you a serious point to make, LES?

        • Thanks for the mansplaining to me John, you ask whether I have a serious point to make; other than men are killing women, beating women, raping women, threatening to rape women and the majority of the ones that aren’t are sitting back and allowing it to happen and or excusing the ones that do. Enablers. Well perhaps murder, violence, sexual assault aren’t serious enough for you John, after all it’s only mere women doing the dying. I’m going back to sniffing nail varnish fumes hoping my next trip will be a good one.

    • @ LES

      The article at the end of LES’ link began, “Earlier this week I tweeted this: ‘Anybody pushing a gender neutral approach to domestic – or sexual – violence is just a male violence enabler.’”

      Enough said?

  6. L-E-S: John will answer for himself. But I have never killed, beaten, or raped a woman or threatened to do so. (Or a man, come to that). Nor excused those who do.

    That leaves “sitting back and allowing it to happen”.

    I am not responsible for the crimes of other men because we have same sort of private parts. Nor indeed are you.

    Just like I am not responsible for the crimes of other men and women of my own race because we ahve the same colour of skin. Nor indeed are you.

    I get on with my life, going about my lawful and non-criminal occasions, as I am sure you do, so please explain (womansplain?) what I am to do so as not to be guilty of “sitting back and allowing it to happen”.

  7. Do you condemn page 3 and the objectification of women’s bodies that allowd men and their ego’s a sense of entitlement to treat women as dehumanised objects rather than human beings and if we object we’re called humourless, certainly not a woman a man would consider marrying, because she’s a) got an opinion and b) and b) one he doesn’t care for. What about when other men are indulging in street harassment me do you challenge them to say no women should have to feel frightened or intimidated to walk down the street?
    Are you with the men who try to pretend that male violence is gender neutral when clearly it isn’t and use that as a reason for not challenging male violence against women. Thus adding your complicity to maintaining the status quo.
    What about “can’t you take a joke love”, “it’s only banter” to excuse all manner of threats, intimidation and malicious behaviour?
    If you’re argument is that as an individual you are not part of what makes society the way it is. That’s your male privilege talking. By and large you and unaffected and therefore you can afford to say it’s nothing to do with you. I really wish I could do the same.

    • I have signed the petition to the Sun to get rid of the Page 3 daily ( . ) ( . ) pictures.

      I haven’t challenged anybody indulging in street harassment since the last time I witnessed street harassment, which was 13 years ago.

      If you want me to propose marriage to you, you will have to allow me at least to meet you, at least once, with a chaperone present if you insist.

      I do not experience any male privilege. I experience disadvantage because I am male.

      If I conceded that male violence wasn’t gender neutral (whatever that means), what *else* would you like me to do, that would help to end male violence against women?

  8. I don’t buy the Sun. My condemnation of it would be meaningless. I haven’t bought a girlie mag since I was in the sixth form and that’s forty-odd years ago when I was young and goolish, and one of those things I have long stopped being.

    Would I intervene if I saw street harassment? I don’t know. I live in a rather staid area, and at age 62 and of slight build and bespectacled I don’t think there would be an awful lot I could do. Would you intervene if you saw a woman bullying and beating her child? I’m afraid that happens too and often in public places.

    No, I don’t pretend that male violence is gender neutral; it obviously isn’t. Did you mean “domestic violence”? If so I am aware that violence against spouses and partners is nearly (not quite) always male; violence against children and elderly relations is another issue.

    I haven’t for many years excused bad behaviour as jokes or banter, and I never address any woman as “love”.

    Obviously I am part of what makes society what it is: so are you. If you are white many black people will regard you as part of a privileged status quo; join the club. I do say, and I will say, that I am not personally guilty of the crimes of another person of my gender, my ethnic group, my species. Neither are you.

    I don’t pretend to be an angle, L-E-S, but the Y-chromosome does not make me an incarnation of evil either.

  9. Mr Nunn’s threat would need to be viable. How likely is a married man with baby daughter, working as a delivery guy in Bristol going to head up the motorway and rape Ms Creasy whilst her husband is present? Nations that jail bloggers and tweeters, Bahrain, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Uzbekistan, Britain.

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