liam stacey

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Racism in Evolving Technology

"A 56-day jail sentence could be awaiting Liam Stacey if his appeal today is unsuccessful. Stacey is the 21-year-old student who tweeted racist comments about Fabrice Muamba and was found guilty of inciting racial hatred under the Public Order Act 1986. A little bit of legal lingo before my comment on the case begins.

Section 17 of the Public Order Act 1986 defines racial hatred as ‘hatred against any group of persons in Great Britain defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins'. There are two basic requirements: the words or behaviour used must be ‘threatening, abusive or insulting' and secondly, the words or behaviour must either have been intended to incite racial hatred or were likely to do so.

Stacey tweeted: "LOL. F*** Muamba he's dead!!! #haha". His tweet caused anger amongst Twitter users, before he went on to send further tweets, and according to the Huffington Post, he suggested one of his detractors "go pick some cotton". Some could argue that Stacey had no intention to incite racial hatred, but was simply doing it for a laugh. It becomes the judges' task when it comes to comments on Twitter whether tweets are likely to incite racial hatred even if unintended.

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