Be Watchful! Internet Trolls to Face Two Years in Jail

Amendments are being proposed to increase the penalty for online abuse from six months to two years in jails. The planned changes will allow magistrates to elevate serious cases to the crown courts, where offenders would face a maximum sentence of 2 years.

The move comes just days after a series of shocking, high-profile cases, including rape threats made against model Chloe Madeley last week. The U.K model Chloe Madeley received rape threats online following her mother’s controversial comments regarding a footballer who was released early after being convicted of rape.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told the media sources that these internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning the social life and the harsher sentences show a collective determination to “take a stand against a baying cyber-mob”.

Chloe Madeley responded that she is a staunch supporter of freedom of speech and believes in free social media, however, threatening to harm others is extreme as it crosses the line of personal opinion into criminal behaviour.

Earlier this month, another amendment was proposed in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill dealing with so-called “revenge porn”, with those posting such images on the internet facing two years in jail.

Currently, offenders who subject their victims to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material on the internet can only be prosecuted in magistrates’ courts under the Malicious Communications Act, which carries a maximum prison sentence of six months. However, this particular Act is 10 years old and quite outdated keeping in view the ever growing prominence of Facebook, Twitter and the nature of offences linked with these social media websites.

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