Joshua Cryer, the law student who'd sent UK soccer commentator Stan Collymore a series of a racist tweets, was sentenced to a fine and community service, instead of jail.
Cryer, 21, a Newcastle University law student, had attempting to get a rise out of the talkSport soccer pundit by bombarding his Twitter account with insults, which included calling the 41-year-old a "c**n." Collymore, who campaigns against racism and is a supporter of the Depression Alliance charity, was attacked by Cryer in his attempts to "ensnare a celebrity," a district judge at Newcastle Magistrates' Court had found.
Cryer, who wore a spectacular tie to his court date, had initially claimed his Twitter had been hacked, and then tried to say his seven tweets he'd posted were made from a lack of impulse control. He later admitted to a violation of section 127 of the Communications Act of sending grossly offensive messages. District Judge Stephen Earl sentenced Cryer to 2 years of community service, and roughly $275 in court costs.
While handing down the sentence, Judge Earl stated that it wouldn't serve society to send Cryer to jail - he called the student "foolish, immature, and pathetic," adding that "this conviction will have a dramatic effect on your job and career prospects, but you put yourself here and you have to man up to that reality. I don't doubt you are not an inherently racist person but you did act in an intentionally racist way. You were a legend in your own head in this attention-seeking moment." Slap.
Earl aptly described some of the darker aspects of social media in saying that Cryer had succumbed to his own momentous online legend, in the sort of digital solipsism that sites like Facebook can instantaneously afford a user.
Here are some Twitter reactions to Cryer's sentence:
@StanCollymore racists tweets is a LAW STUDENT?! God help this country. What is going on?!Troll convicted for sending
@StanCollymore Just wanted to say - on behalf of all NORMAL Burnley people how appalled I was at that dick-wad's twitter behaviour.
Would like to thank Northumbria & Staffordshire Police for their professionalism in dealing with this case.