THE UK Government plans to jail internet trolls who target people with online abuse.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who spoke in a newspaper interview, reiterated the Government’s anger towards internet bullying and its determination to stop trolling by introducing harsh punishments.
He said: “We already have offences in place to deal with this appalling behaviour, but we’ve toughened up the law to make sure these crimes can be properly investigated and those who commit the most serious offences face a longer prison sentence.”
Cases are presently handled in the magistrates’ courts under the Malicious Communications Act, with a maximum sentence of six months. However, Grayling is changing the law so the most serious cases can be passed on to the Crown Courts which could result in much longer sentences, up to two years’ imprisonment.
In the interview, he states that trolls are “cowards who are poisoning our national life,” and the “venom thrown at people online would never be acceptable in real life.”
Grayling said cases like Chloe Madeley, who was threatened with rape by online trolls, was ‘terrible’ and there should be tougher sentences for offenders like Peter Nunn who only received 18 weeks in jail after his online hate campaign against Labour MP Stella Creasy.
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair, who supports the new law, added: “Trolling is probably the most challenging thing facing policing over the next 10 years.
“A huge amount of people’s lives, especially young people’s lives, is now lived on the internet. And if it’s lived on the internet and there are criminals on the internet, then police are going to have go into the internet.”