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UK man sentenced to 150 hrs of community service for ‘offensive’ tweet

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A Twitter user in the UK has been sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid community service for posting a “grossly offensive” tweet about Captain Sir Tom Moore, a British Army officer who raised money for the National Health Service (NHS) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joseph Kelly, 36, of Glasgow had posted on Twitter that “the only good Brit soldier is a deed one, burn auld fella buuuuurn” in February last year, reports The National.

He was found guilty of sending the message following a trial at Lanark Sheriff Court in January this year and returned to the court for sentencing on Wednesday.

Sheriff Adrian Cottam sentenced him to a community payback order comprising 18 months of supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work.

My view is, having heard the evidence, that this was a grossly offensive tweet. The deterrence is really to show people that despite the steps you took to try and recall matters, as soon as you press the blue button that’s it, – Sheriff Cottam was quoted as saying.

The case has brought attention to the new UK legislation that allows social media users to be prosecuted for sending “grossly offensive” messages.

Moore became a national figure in the UK after he walked 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than 32 million pounds for the NHS, and was knighted by the Queen in recognition of his efforts.

The day after his death, Kelly had posted the offensive tweet, which he deleted 20 minutes later, the report said.

Kelly has since expressed regret and remorse.

The charge under the Communications Act said that Kelly made a post to the public using social media that was “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character, and that did utter offensive remarks about Captain Sir Tom Moore, now deceased”.


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