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A man has been convicted of posting an “extremely offensive” tweet about the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Joseph Kelly, 36, was arrested after the post appeared on social media following the death of the fundraiser.
He admitted to posting on his Twitter account “the only good British soldier is one in fact he burns old friend buuuuuurn” but denied breaking communication laws.
He was found guilty by Sheriff Adrian Cottam after a trial in Lanark Sheriff’s Court.
Kelly, who was reprimanded by the sheriff for laughing while sitting in the dock, did not testify during the trial.
The audience was told that Kelly, from Castlemilk, Glasgow, spoke to a neighbor and said he was sorry for posting the tweet which was condemned by social media users.
Luzier Jeffrey, 51, said he had spoken to Kelly
Luzier Jeffrey, 51, said he had spoken to Kelly after her message was posted last February.
She said: “I was a bit shocked when I saw the tweet.
“The gentleman in question had done a lot to raise awareness and funds for the NHS in England.
“I talked to Joseph about it and, I can’t remember word for word, but he said, ‘I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my time, but that’s one of the worst’ and said he regretted it and it was just a spur of the moment thing.” .
“He also told me he would take it down immediately, which he did, but unfortunately someone had seen it.
“He was afraid of retaliation for that and so was he because addresses were being shared online about it.”
Prosecutors insisted that Kelly had violated communication laws and that the tweet was “extremely offensive.”
Deputy Prosecutor Liam Haggart said
Deputy Prosecutor Liam Haggart said: “Captain Tom Moore had become something of a celebrity because of his age and the work he had done to support the NHS.
“Had Mr Kelly been standing at Lanark Cross and beginning to shout these remarks, there would have been little difficulty in breaching the peace charges brought against him.
“Freedom of expression does not justify making this publication.
“This was a tweet designed to be offensive and, in my opinion, extremely offensive which takes it beyond the necessary threshold.”
But his legal team argued that prosecutors had not established a case against him and that he was infringing on his freedom of expression.
Defense attorney Cameron Smith said: “This tweet does not cross the threshold of criminality.
“It’s disgusting and unpleasant, but it’s not grossly offensive.
“That is a very high bar and I say that the Crown has not exceeded that bar in these proceedings.”
Sheriff Cottam said
Sheriff Cottam said: “I am of the opinion that the focus of the tweet was not on the British army or soldiers, but on the man in the photo, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who had become a national hero during the wars. early stages of the pandemic.
“The timing of the tweet makes the comment not only offensive, but extremely offensive, and what the defendant chose to write can only be described as such.
“The accusation interferes with freedom of expression, but it is a necessary interference.”
Kelly’s sentencing was deferred until March due to reports and his bail was continued.
Sir Tom, who helped raise more than £32m for the NHS during the first national lockdown, died of coronavirus and pneumonia last February aged 100.
He won the hearts of the nation by doing 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire during the first lockdown, raising money for NHS Charities Together.
The Queen knighted him during a special ceremony on the grounds of Windsor Castle in 2020.