Brothers jailed after mocking judge who spared them prison on Facebook

Judge Beverley Lunt: 'They have not changed at all. They have not taken on board anything or learned any responsibility'

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The Independent Online

Two brothers who mocked a judge on Facebook because she did not send them to prison were later recalled and handed two years each behind bars - for attempting to ‘fool’ the court into thinking they had regretted their crimes.

Just 40 minutes after Daniel Sledden, 27, received a suspended jail term from Judge Beverley Lunt earlier this month, he posted online: “Cannot believe my luck 2 year suspended sentance (sic) beats the 3 year jail yes pal! Beverly [sic] Lunt go suck my ****”.

His brother, Samuel Sledden, 22, wrote: “What a day it's been Burnley crown court! Up ur **** aha nice 2 year suspended...”

The defendants, from Lancashire, were called back to Preston Crown Court for a review of their sentence once the remarks had been brought to the attention of the judge.

She had previously heard that they felt remorse for the offences they had committed.

“Each of the posts indicate they have not changed at all,” the judge said.

“They have not taken on board anything or learned any responsibility.”

The Sleddens originally received a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, after they admitted to being involved in the supply of cannabis in 2014.

Both will now serve two years after the suspension was lifted by Judge Lunt.

She said the Facebook posts had contained “offensive and sexual content directed at me as a judge, and also as a woman judge”.

The apology later posted on Facebook, for his original post, by Daniel Sledden

“These were not private entries in a diary,” the judge continued.

“They were placed on Facebook with the intention that others should and would read them, and if they wished, would share them. So it was a limitless audience.

“Their content is clearly indicative of how they really felt about appearing in court for this particular offence.

“Their tenor was boastful and jeering and the only reasonable inference was, they thought they had somehow fooled and misled the court.”

Daniel Sledden’s post was later deleted, but only because he had been advised to do so by his solicitors, she said.

Both brothers had since written letters of apology to Judge Lunt.

Daniel Prowse, defending Samuel Sledden, said the online comments were “ill-conceived, extremely disrespectful and displayed rude ingratitude” but neither demonstrated explicitly that the brothers were not sorry for their crimes.

He added that remorse had not been advanced as a factor in their mitigation and, in that sense, neither had “conned the court”.

Mr Prowse said the comments were made when both were “sufficiently emotionally affected” in the immediate aftermath of escaping an immediate prison term.

Arguing that it was not necessary to revoke the suspended jail terms, he said the subsequent reporting of the case had led to them becoming “national, if not international, figures of ridicule”.

“They, frankly, will never live this down,” said Mr Prowse.

Additional reporting by PA