Man Goes to Jail for Being an Internet Troll

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . . . 24 NEXT
 

Man Goes to Jail for Being an Internet Troll

image

A U.K. man has been sentenced to 18 weeks in jail for being an internet troll.

Being a troll cost Colm Coss of Manchester more than just some hate mail and a flood of angry forum replies. The 36-year-old unemployed man will also have to give up a few months of freedom because he "preyed on bereaved families" by posting rude messages on websites dedicated to reality TV personality Jade Goody and John Paul Massey, a young boy who was mauled to death by a dog. The court was told that among his comments, Coss claimed that he had "had sex with the victims' dead bodies."

"You preyed on bereaved families who were suffering trauma and anxiety," Chairwoman of the bench Pauline Salisbury told the defendant. "We know you gained pleasure and you aren't sorry for what you did."

Coss was charged with "sending malicious communications that were grossly offensive," which is apparently illegal in the U.K. under the Communications Act 2003. He would have got away with it, too, except he sent pictures of himself to his neighbors saying that he was an "internet troll," one of whom passed the pictures on to police for some reason. Coss admitted to being a troll during a subsequent police interview.

And now it's time for some audience participation. What do you think is most disturbing: The fact that being a troll is literally against the law in the U.K., the fact that Coss' neighbors felt it necessary to inform the police that there was a troll living down the street or the fact that the police thought the matter was important enough to warrant an interview and then formal charges?

I don't like trolls. They're attention-seeking jerks who will say anything to get a rise out of people. When they get demolished in a forum thread, or banned, or even punched in the mouth, I don't mind at all. But I'm having a hard time believing that someone is going to jail for it. Any society that puts people in prison for being a dick is a society that's in deep trouble indeed.

Source: BBC, thanks to Wordsmith for the tip.

Permalink

That is too funny. Guess realID might have cut down on trolling... at least in the UK.

It's more then trolling in this case, it's enjoying the act of traumatizing traumatized people. If he was trolling somewhere else on the same idea, he wouldn't have been arrested.

That is one awesome looking picture.

[Deleted]
I swear to God, I really don't want to be quoted for this post any more.

Is it just me that sees the irony that he's managed to be extremely succesful as a troll?
He 1) Got a rise out of people
2) Got a rise out of people affected by an issue, and
3) He got a rise out of the authorities.

TheAmazingTGIF:
This seems like a breach of free speech (I know that it didn't happen in the US, but still)...
He does seem like a massive tool but that is what free speech is about. This could be concerning to people on the internet in the UK.

Certain kinds of speech are NOT protected. "I fucked your dead child" is one of the unprotected ones.

I still think he deserves it, personally.

Then again, I don't think the U.K> constitution gives free speech and such... Since it's under a monarchy. So it's probably whatever the king or queen decides.

For those interested, The Communications Act (2003). There is 411 pages of it though.

Nick Timperman:
Then again, I don't think the U.K> constitution gives free speech and such... Since it's under a monarchy. So it's probably whatever the king or queen decides.

Uh...REALLY suggest you read this. Queen 'Beth doesn't really make the laws anymore.

Meh, nobody cares/cared about Jade Goody.
Troll away on her, sir.

Nick Timperman:
Then again, I don't think the U.K> constitution gives free speech and such... Since it's under a monarchy. So it's probably whatever the king or queen decides.

The Queen has only the power to deny laws from becoming true. She can't make laws, it's not a total Monarchy.

Well, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about when it comes to other countries in various debates where I talk about how the US has the highest level of freedom and human rights in the world, then someone fires back that it's not true and points out how their nation (which will be something like the UK) is ahead of us according to some statistic or poll, and then something like this happens.

To be honest, I see both sides of the equasion, and why people want to curtail behaviors like this, but to be honest dealing with jerks is the lesser of two evils when it comes to putting people in jail for being jerks given that it opens so much room for abuse.

What's more, freedom of speech, doesn't just mean "freedom of speech you like or agree with" but the freedom to say what you want without these kinds of consequences. Once you start regulating the jerks, it turns into people simply wanting to regulate anyone they don't agree with.

There is no requirement that you have to be nice to anyone, that you have to like everyone, or that you have to remain silent about those you don't like. That's what freedom is all about.

Yes, words can hurt, and do a lot of damage, but as Heinlan put it "You can either have freedom or safety, never both".

That's simply my take on things. There is no doubt in my mind that this guy was an obnoxious trouble maker, indeed he reminds me vaguely of Fred Phelps without the religious overtones, but the police shoulx not have been involved, and sending him to jail was both overkill, and an affront to human rights.

lacktheknack:

TheAmazingTGIF:
This seems like a breach of free speech (I know that it didn't happen in the US, but still)...
He does seem like a massive tool but that is what free speech is about. This could be concerning to people on the internet in the UK.

Certain kinds of speech are NOT protected. "I fucked your dead child" is one of the unprotected ones.

Quoted for truth.

I mean who cares if it's the internet. He just went way, way too far.

TheAmazingTGIF:
This seems like a breach of free speech (I know that it didn't happen in the US, but still)...
He does seem like a massive tool but that is what free speech is about. This could be concerning to people on the internet in the UK.

Shout "I've got a fucking bomb" in an airport and see how free your speech is. There is no free speech unless you understand it as the ability to say what you want but you may have to accept the consequences.

What do you think is most disturbing: The fact that being a troll is literally against the law in the U.K., the fact that Coss' neighbors felt it necessary to inform the police that there was a troll living down the street or the fact that the police thought the matter was important enough to warrant an interview and then formal charges?

Hmm, puzzler of the week. A! No, C! Wait, B! No no no, A!

beat you to it escapist! lol

Some times we do our job too well...

Nick Timperman:
Then again, I don't think the U.K> constitution gives free speech and such... Since it's under a monarchy. So it's probably whatever the king or queen decides.

Maybe if you travelled back in time 200 years that would be the case. The Queen is a figurehead monarch, she has basically no political power. Seriously, what kind of place do you think the UK is? We have a democratically elected government just like you guys.

And this guy got what he deserved. Free speech isn't something that can be used to hide from this kind of thing. You can't say that kind of thing and then say you're protected under free speech, that's not what we have it for.

You forget, this isn't a random comment on a forum like this full of people well-versed in internet culture and people who know a troll when we see one. These comments were on a community that isn't aware of this kind of stuff (although I fear the community that congregates around Jade Goody...).

Edit: Fun fact: The UK is basically the only country in the world without a written constitution. Think about it, there's been no massive revolution in the UK during which there was a sudden change in the political system (at least in a thousand years anyway), which is usually when a country writes a constitution.

TheAmazingTGIF:
This seems like a breach of free speech (I know that it didn't happen in the US, but still)...
He does seem like a massive tool but that is what free speech is about. This could be concerning to people on the internet in the UK.

oh, but he was free to speak his mind. and he was free to get arrested for it too.
it's like saying you can't eat poison mushrooms. sure you can, but only once.

i'm glad he did get arrested. if people on the internet feel more threatened, it may cut down on the trolling at least a little bit, since banning is highly inneficient.

This really isn't a free speech issue. This wasn't a guy trying to tell you his religious beliefs are correct or saying how [insert race] are going to be the end of the world.

He speech was meant to delibrately hurt a grieving family for only his personal amusement.

This wasn't a guy talking about how Halo or Half-Life sucks and how we are all dumb [insert slur] for enjoying it.

When you tell a grieving family on the internet that you had sex with their kids corpse, and the only reason you are doing it is because you think you're anonymous and it gives you LOL's. There's a line there, it's blurry and wavy mind you. I think this guy crossed that line.

I think the punishment is a bit over the top. 18 weeks in jail is a lot. I would have preferred a fine and community service. Granted if this guy was that big of a douche then maybe he deserved what he got.

Soooo...Does this mean we can sue /b/ now?

As much as I hate trolling scumbags such as this. I do not believe he should be in prison.

In my opinion the judge should have ruled that the man will be beat the crap out of by the victim. After that you drop the whole thing.

Why did I feel that I could've just stopped reading after Manchester?

Oh yeah, I'd go low enough for English city insults. Go Yorkshire!

Sorry, but he does deserve to be jailed. Why is this not done everywhere in the world?

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

This amuses me.

I think he deserves it completely. I would consider telling someone you had sex with their dead child as harassment.

This man got exactly what he deserved, and it's a shame more people like him don't get the same. Claiming free speech protects toying with the bereaved does nothing but denigrate free speech.

Oh, and for the "society is DOOMED" brigade, the laws behind this have been in effect since 1988. No need to start going on about how Britain is turning into what a friend of a friend who reads the papers told you Orwell was predicting.

This feels strange. I'm actually proud of country for once. *shudder* Hold me.

While i don't really care for Jade Goody (the popular racist made famous because of idiocy in a reality tv show), there is a line you don't cross and that is 'trolling' the family of John Paul Massey. There are certain things we really don't say in Britain, and thats one of them.

Monshroud:
This really isn't a free speech issue. This wasn't a guy trying to tell you his religious beliefs are correct or saying how [insert race] are going to be the end of the world.

He speech was meant to delibrately hurt a grieving family for only his personal amusement.

This wasn't a guy talking about how Halo or Half-Life sucks and how we are all dumb [insert slur] for enjoying it.

When you tell a grieving family on the internet that you had sex with their kid, and the only reason you are doing it is because you think you're anonymous and it gives you LOL's. There's a line there, it's blurry and wavy mind you. I think this guy crossed that line.

I think the punishment is a bit over the top. 18 weeks in jail is a lot. I would have preferred a fine and community service. Granted if this guy was that big of a douche then maybe he deserved what he got.

Imo vigilante justice should be the proper course of action in cases such as this.

And i mean having your ass handed to you not getting lynched.

Either that or getting run out of town by guys with shotguns.

Shock Trolls are generally the laziest and worst type of troll anyway, good riddance.

Cannibal Trolls are the best, more so because it's a game of wits and we generally keep to ourselves.

He deserves some kind of punishment, I don't know if putting him in jail it's neccesary but he was talking trash, heavy trash on someone, and if the law considers this a threat to the other person, it's kind of fear he recives a fine, a restriction order or something

Another reason for Yahtzee not to return to England

On a serious note, British slander laws are incredibly easy to hold a trial for and get CONVICTED for. They apparently don't have much tolerance for anyone saying anything. Shit, it's like 1984 over there

If he's a troll he disurvs jail, mabey not if it's some random bullshitter but this guy really needed some time in jail, hope hell be someones bitch

".. But I'm having a hard time believing that someone is going to jail for it. Any society that puts people in prison for being a dick is a society that's in deep trouble indeed."

..mm. I mean, what are they going to start punishing people for next? War crimes, or something?

I think this is relevant to the guys he was trolling

image

I play the trap card, 'counter troll'

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . . . 24 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here