Tweeter faces jail after using C-word in attack on councillor
Editorial assistant on CorpComms Magazine
Who is @Sir_Olly_C?
He's a political blogger called John Kerlen, hailing from Millwards in Essex, writing on Twitter under the name of Chaos is Order.
Sounds like anarchy, but why do I care about what he has to say?
His wisdom has sparked a renewed question of policing social networks and freedom of speech.
Why? How is freedom of speech connected to @Sir_Olly_C?
Friday 13th April proved unlucky for our modern day Oliver Cromwell. Kerlin was found guilty of an 'improper use of public electronic communications network' under Section 23 of the Telecommunications Act 2003. Apparently, he posted a couple of tweets which indirectly offended Melvyn Seymour, a councillor for Bexley in south east London.
How offensive could a tweet really be?
Well, allegedly, he posted an image of the councillor's house on Twitter with the immortal words: 'Which c*** lives in a house like this. Answers on a postcard to #bexleycouncil.' There is also some suggestion that he may have encouraged followers to post excrement to the same address.
No! That's truly Sharon Osborne like...are you sure?
Well, he sent a tweet saying: 'It's silly posting a picture of a house on Twitter without an address. That will come later. Please feel free to post actual s**t.' I should make clear though that these threats weren't actually followed through, excuse the pun.
And he could really go to prison for tweeting that?
Yes. Kerlen will learn his fate on 9 May, but he could receive a custodial sentence of six months in jail.
Those aren't pleasant words, but surely imprisonment is quite harsh?
A spokesman for Bexley Council said: 'The council is totally supportive of freedom of expression and political debate. The council is of the view that Kerlen's actions went beyond the limits of what is both acceptable and reasonable in terms of freedom of expression.'
Is this the first Twitter twit to end up in hot water?
Not at all. Liam Stacey was arrested and sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist tweets following the heart attack of footballer Fabrice Muamba on the pitch.
I think I'll stick to radio silence.
Probably best. I know your potty mouth!