Two more convicted of menacing comments on Facebook…

I heard a story recently of someone who took writing “Romani ite domum” on the boards of a building site, every night on his way home from the pub; he was protesting the building of a supermarket on the site of a local cricket pitch.

The thing is he was clever enough to publish a witty protest (for those familiar enough with Life of Brian) and not get caught.

You could hardly claim that what Matthew McKenna, 20, and Dean Boyd, 21 did on Facebook was a protest, but writing “Kill all Taigs” with your name attached is a particularly fool thing to do.

Far from being one of the first examples of this kind of menacing on Facebook, as the Independent claims, it follows the case of Daryl O’Donnell who was similarly convicted last summer for writing menacing comments about the East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.

This is one of the reasons why Slugger has a fairly tight commenting policy (which relies on you the community to report any breaches directly). And it should kick in a long way before people feel they have to resort to law.

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  • Chris Donnelly

    Some context is important when examining this case, which I reported on at the time on the following thread:

    McKenna was in Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors band at the time of the offence and one of the comments he made that the judge read out was

    “never a prouder moment than 2nite parading past the daithi mckay bastard in rasharkin. put a bullet in each o the cunts and they’ll not be back agin – wankers.”

    I think we should all be glad that the PSNI stepped up to the mark on this occasion, but the backdrop of the story perfectly illustrates another issue which formed the subject of a more recent thread:

  • “your name attached is a particularly fool thing to do.”

    ‘Fool’ was something the magistrate had in mind:

    Mr Rafferty said that when the Facebook comments were brought to Mr McKay’s attention he reported them to the police “and he was concerned about them being public”, but the barrister claimed, the politician then copied the Facebook page and published it on Twitter where more people saw it.

    Mr Wilson said that was “not perhaps the wisest move” by the politician. .. Ballymoney and Moyle Times.

  • lamhdearg2


  • lamhdearg2

    “the court also heard that Boyds partner is a catholic, and his child is being brought up as a catholic”, marital? or should Mr Boyd be banned from Facebook, and pointed in the direction of
    by the way Mick it seems ld2, is having the same trouble commenting as ld1 had

  • Drumlins Rock

    Chris, if that what your guy said then I think its fair enough sentence. The other young guy was just being a bit of a drunken prat in my view, a caution would prob be more suitable in his case.

    Your link back to that pile of tripe you call a thread, brings up another issue, you are able to comment here, why do you not respond to the valid points made on your other threads?

  • BluesJazz

    So why did the guy who made the offensive remarks about the Bolton footballer, which contained no actual threat, get 2 months in jail?
    Is tweeting more offensive than Facebook?

    IIRC there was some silly, crass remark made by a girl in Rathfriland about the Michaela McAreavey death, and she had to leave the country.

    I’ve seen many tasteless, offensive remarks posted about individuals over the years, usually about Thatcher or Obama etc, and they’re treated as par for the course.

    The law is becoming daft on this.

  • Mac

    “So why did the guy who made the offensive remarks about the Bolton footballer, which contained no actual threat, get 2 months in jail?”

    I dare say it was the racist comments he directed at people who took offense at his original tweet which were the deciding factor. They were a lot more venomous, particularly those directed at black female twitter users.

    I have some sympathy with the argument that it is all getting out of hand, as a law, it strikes me as one where a fair application is impossible.

    Why can a sober Clarkson express the opinion on national TV that strikers should be taken out in front of their families to be shot and people laugh it off as Clarkson just being Clarkson, but a drunken lad be pulled up in court for essentially saying the same thing about another group of people whose politics he disagrees with to a comparatively minuscule audience?

  • Drumlins Rock

    All i can say is –

    Romanes Eunt Domus

    As I said earlier, I think the two cases are not as similar as the judgement makes out. It does make Daithi look a bit petty too, how much has the whole thing cost taxpayers?

  • Mac

    “does make Daithi look a bit petty too”

    So Daithi using a legal precedent set by Gregory’s case makes him look petty? Does everything have to be reduced to a usens and themuns?

  • Drumlins Rock

    nah, Gregory looked petty too.

  • “[Daithí McKay] was concerned about his safety and that of his family” .. Ballymoney and Moyle Times link above

    I’m only aware of attacks on Daithí and his property from other republicans. Were they carried out because he and other party members have been ‘masquerading as republicans’? Were any complaints made to the police or any prosecutions carried out following the Ballymena incident?

  • Dec

    It’s always refreshing to see, in cases of sectarian abuse and death threats, the focus turned away from the perpretrators and back onto the victim.

  • Dec, if you read the newspaper accounts you’ll see that McKay was also a ‘perpetrator’ via Twitter and that he’s also caught in a pincer movement. Could you also argue that he’s a victim of the PRM flip on ‘facing down the Unionists’?

    IMO this DUP and SF ‘outreach’ is a load of old cod – or mutton dressed as lamb.

  • galloglaigh

    Does anyone believe, that if a picture put on facebook saying shoot Colin Duffy on sight, and was then reported to the PSNI, would it be dealt with in the same manner?

  • galloglaigh, without naming names, some folks continue to have immunity from prosecution and the police need political clearance before they can intervene. Back in the 90s it was referred to as a ‘not ruffling paramilitary feathers’ policy. Civil servants from London and Dublin have been involving in the working out of that policy.

  • OK: we live in an unequal society, and Sluggerdom is a feudal fief.

    But how didactici I get carded for reported speech, while Chris Donnelly gets away with it?

    No:there is a more serious point here. Them as is set in ‘thority above us are still, rather in desperation, trying to cope with and contain the new social media. Hence the overkill: in the cases noted here, as much as in last August’s social disruption (call them “riots” should youmust

  • Lordy, Lordy! I loathe this iBook stuff.

    Apologies for the abbreviated above. The rest is silence.

  • Malcolm, put new media and FOI requests together and you can send those with power and/or influence into a tail-spin. Even top flight solicitors, acting on behalf of wealthy clients, can work themselves into a right lather when certain matters are exposed to the light of new media.

  • Mick Fealty


    Any chance you might address a single complaint directly to me? Rather than making cryptic references on other threads?

  • Mick Fealty

    We should try for a lille perspektive. Daithi was as entitled to take action as Gregory. But in both cases the perps were handed fines rather than custodial sentences.

    Though I dø wonder how the Indo got the idea this is the first time it has happened in NI; when the O’Donnell conviction was only a gear ago.

  • “We should try for a lille perspective.”

    Mick, do you think Daithí should also have been penalised for republishing such inflammatory language via Twitter?

    To widen the conversation you’d sometimes wonder if our justice system has a sense of perspective. Some of our paramilitary godfathers have immunity from prosecution; some are even feted. This case reminds me of a councillor being fined something of the order of £7000 for trespassing on what local people considered to be common land. These examples for me represent an inversion of justice.

    “I dø wonder how the Indo got the idea”

    A journalist of that name works for the Press Association so the Indo may just have been recycling all or part of a PA feed.

  • Mick Fealty @ 7:59 am:

    My complaints are:

    1. Is there an agreed policy across all thread-authors? It seems to me that it comes down to a matter of personal dislike.

    2. Far more significant, I complain about the tortuous iPad input across three separate keyboards. It looks as if your @ 8:14 am had similar “issues”. Let’s not get into cut-and-paste. About all that you can do nothing; but I can use a wifi keyboard. Or resort to the main machine (as here).

    The point I had hoped to make earlier is that the new media (and official repression) have to come to terms with the differences, sometimes very narrow, between offensiveness, offence and threat. My own feeling is that, in the aftermath of last August’s civil disorders, there has been unnecessary and regrettable over-reaction.

    We surely need to argue the social and cultural nuances (even ones of class) between:
    (a) “Smash Down in Northwich Town” — which earns four years in chokey;
    (b) Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
    It isn’t fit for humans now,
    There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
    Swarm over, Death!
    — which wins a place in many anthologies.

    Anybody who has put a head above the political parapet, even one as insignificant as I, has received casual and tribal abuse (which is par for the course) and (more to the point) threats. Only twice were the threats blood-curdling. One on the abortion issue. The other when I bemoaned the pigeon population of Romford station (and a dry-cleaning bill). Did I take them seriously? — not really. Did I report them to the constabulary? — of course not. Would it have made any difference had they come from an identifiable point-of presence, rather than in brown envelopes? — of course.

    Now, what should I have done above the green ink job which speculated expansively on the Lady in my Life’s physical charms?

  • “Some context is important when examining this case”

    Chris, you’ve failed to provide such a context; instead you’ve attempted to gloss over the absence of a conciliatory approach in the Rasharkin village, parish and district.

    According to NINIS the village population is 74% Catholic Community background. Most of the village is in the inappropriately named Killoquin Upper ward [56% Catholic] with the remainder in Killoquin Lower [38% Catholic]. It also provides a service for parts of The Vow [ 30% Catholic] and Dunminning [13% Catholic]

    Perhaps Peter and Martin, those great exponents of ‘outreach’ and central control, should pop down to Rasharkin and knock some local heads together instead of permitting their local lieutenants and the reckless ones to pour fuel on the flames of a contested space.

  • Jo

    I find it a little bemusing that this form of blatant sectaranism and racism is highlighted because it appears on a mass-media site like Facebook, yet certain personal websites carry much more insidious inflammatory and hate-filled commentary, at least one originating in NI.

    Christians on these sites call openly for “war” against Muslims, yet when one deranged (or alternatively, totally sane??) Christian Norwegian takes these calls literally, the site owner washes his hands.
    I would argue that one off “KAT” calls – while utterly deplorable, attract attention due to their blatant and naive nature, while those who persistently infest the internet with a barrage of racist language and open incitement and instill a culture of intolerance and bigotr should equally be prosecuted – the evidence is there.

    Thats the thing about the Internet, once you say something there, it stays around.

  • lamhdearg2

    Muslims are fare game, this applys to wasps* who are neither gay nor to a lesser extent disabled, there is a list (in my head) to which the reverse is true, if shall however stay in my head,because as i have typed the reverse is true.

    * some wasps with money can override this.