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Braintree: No criminal prosecution for offensive Twitter posts
10:30am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
A Twitter user who posted offensive messages mocking the Hillsborough disaster will not face criminal prosecution.
Robert Ambridge, 51, was investigated by police following messages posted from an account known as Old Holborn in April.
The messages also referred to the Boston bombings, which had taken place that month, and the 1993 murder of toddler James Bulger.
Braintree resident Mr Ambridge attended a voluntary interview with Essex Police in July and a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The CPS announced yesterday it would not be taking further action.
A spokesman said: “The CPS has carefully considered evidence in relation to one suspect, concerning a number of offensive messages sent via social networking sites.
“The CPS was consulted by Essex Police at an early stage after two complaints were made to them about messages sent on Twitter in April, following which the CPS was asked to make a charging decision.
“This case was considered in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the DPP’s guidelines for cases involving communications sent via social media.
“When looking at cases like this we have to strike a difficult balance between the right to free speech and whether something is so grossly offensive as to be criminal and, if so, whether a prosecution is in the public interest.
“The guidelines make clear the very high threshold that is required for a communication to be so grossly offensive as to be criminal – it has to be more than just bad taste, controversial or causing offence to individuals or to a specific community.
“This was a finely balanced decision and whilst it is clear that some of the messages considered were offensive and distasteful, we have determined they were not so grossly offensive as to meet the high threshold required to justify bringing criminal proceedings.
“We have therefore advised the police that no further action should be taken in this case.”
Mr Ambridge, who recently appeared in an ITV documentary about internet abuse, has described himself as a “satirical terrorist”.
He revealed his wife and children have received death threats as a result of his actions.
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