Yet another Twitter legal first has come out of the UK this week. A football (or soccer) fan has been banned from his favorite team’s football ground and sentenced to community service for tweets he made that were racist in nature.
More legal precedence is coming out of the UK in terms of Twitter than anywhere else.
As Wales Online reports, Luke O’Donoughoe, a 23-year-old man from Norwich was charged with sending an offensive message by public communication under the Communications Act 2003. He had apparently made a racist comment about the signing of a new member of the Norwich City football team, James Vaughan. His racist tweets were brought to the attention of the Norfolk Police by a member of the public.
In the first legal move of its kind, O’Donoughoe will not only serve 120 hours of community service, but he will also be banned for life from visiting the football grounds on which his team trains.
It’s interesting to notes that if a new bill proposed in the Scottish parliament goes through, sending offensive and threatening tweets could land the offender in jail for up to 5 years. This bill was also proposed due to Twitter incidents related to football.
The legal system still has a way to go to catch up to Twitter and other forms of digital communication, but it looks like the UK is ahead of the curve when it comes to honest attempts to understand how to handle a less-than-upstanding tweet.