(Anorak) Olly Cromwell, a blogger, is facing prison for calling someone “cunt” on twitter. Cromwell’s real name is John Graham Kerlen.
Olly Cromwell has been found guilty under Section 127 of the Telecommunications Act 2003 of making a grossly offensive and menacing comment on Twitter. He used the word “cunt”.
Kerlen wrote on twitter by a photo of a Bexley councillor’s home:
“Which cunt lives in a house like this. Answers on a postcard to #bexleycouncil”
The tweet was later followed by another tweet:
“It’s silly posting a picture of a house on Twitter without an address, that will come later. Please feel free to post actual shit”
Not nice. Who’d want to be the subject of that invitation?
Bit it’s weird. Max Farqaur writes that “cunt” is now a crime:
The prosecution are asking for a custodial sentence equal to 45 days for each letter.
Spiderplantland has more:
Last year, Olly Cromwell was banned for six months from attending Council meetings for being “distruptive”. Then the Metropolitan Police sent him a letter concerning his blog. Reportedly, it went:
“It has been brought to Police attention that you have been placing blogs on the Bexley is Bonkers website and emailing Bexleyheath Councillors direct criticising them both on a personal level and the way the council is run’. The content and tone of this communication from you has caused the considerable alarm and must stop.”
On October of 2011, Olly Cromwell was arrested for harassment and incitement to commit criminal damage. Police seized his computer, his wife’s computer, his mobile phone and his digital camera. He was bailed on condition that he did not blog about any specific Bexley Councillors. He did, as Spiderplantland notes, claim it was a Bexley Councillor who had instigated his arrest.
On 7th November Olly Cromwell stood in the dock at Bexley Magistrates Court. He pleaded not guilty. He was told the case would be heard in Bromley.
Now Olly Cromwell could see the charges levelled against him in detail. Spiderplantland writes:
The harassment point was attributed to a comment that had been made to a senior Bexley Councillor. Olly is adamant that he did not write this comment (that was also attributed to another blogger who has, until now, had no action taken against him)
The incitement to cause criminal damage claim was made after Olly was alleged to have posted a picture of a councillors house on his blog and twitter. Olly himself admits that posting the picture was a ‘silly thing to do’ but also makes it clear that at no point did he say who’s house it was nor where it is…
On 21st December 2011, Olly Cromwell was charged under the malicious communications act for sending 2 tweets and issued with a restraining order ‘should he be found guilty’ at his trial.
As the News Shopper noted:
Kerlen, of Glebelands in Crayford, arrived at court facing a charge of harassment without violence of “various Bexley Councillors” which was dropped when no evidence was offered before the new charge was added.
So. Innocent until proven guilty? Olly Cromwell was handed a restraining order that ordered him:
- Not to own, operate or write on a website or social media any criticisms of Bexley Council
- Not to contact the victim directly or indirectly
- Not to write directly or indirectly about Bexley Councillors on any site.
- Not to refer to the victim directly or indirectly on any site
Olly Cromwell was being censored until it could be proven if he had committed a crime.
On 8th March 2012 Olly Cromwell was arrested for an alleged breach of his bail conditions. He was held in the police cells. And then, the next day he was released. He had, as reported, not breached his bail conditions.
On April 13, 2012, Olly Cromwell was tried at Bexley magistrates court – not Bromley. He was found guilty of a section 127 offence under the Communications Act of 2003. Pre-sentence reports will be presented at Bromley Magistrates Court on May 9th.
The prosecution are seeking a custodial sentence with the court papers showing a request for 45 days for each letter in the ‘C’ word being requested.
Can this be right? Should Cromwell consider himself lucky he didn’t use longer expletives?