Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Man charged over ‘offensive’ tweet about Captain Sir Tom Moore

Suspect faces up to six months in jail or a fine no bigger than £5,000 – or both

Sam Hancock
Wednesday 10 February 2021 12:30 GMT
The 100-year-old national hero died in hospital last week after testing positive for Covid-19
The 100-year-old national hero died in hospital last week after testing positive for Covid-19 (Getty)

A 35-year-old man has been charged for allegedly posting an offensive message on Twitter about the recently deceased Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Captain Tom died in Bedford Hospital last Tuesday morning, having been initially admitted for pneumonia and later testing positive for coronavirus.

After some online criticism, his family said in a statement that doctors were consulted before Captain Tom travelled to Barbados towards the end of 2020, and that the trip complied with lockdown rules at the time. He had been unable to receive a Covid vaccine due to other medications he was taking.

The 100-year-old became the face of Britain’s fight against Covid-19 last year when he raised more than £32m for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden during the first lockdown.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman told the PA news agency on Monday: “On Friday 5 February2021, we received a report of an offensive tweet about Sir Captain Tom Moore who died on Tuesday 2 February.

“A 35-year-old man has subsequently been arrested and charged in connection with communication offences and is due to appear at Lanark Sheriff Court on Wednesday 17 February.”

It is understood the suspect has been charged under the Communications Act 2003, which states a person is guilty of an offence if he or she sends “by means of a public electronic communication network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

If convicted, the man in question faces up to six months behind bars or a fine no bigger than £5,000, according to Scotland’s penalties standard scale – or both.

In 2018, Lanarkshire man Mark Meechan was convicted of committing a hate crime after he posted videos on YouTube of his dog giving Nazi salutes.

His trial was placed under a microscope when public figures, such as comedian Ricky Gervais, questioned if the Communications Act undermined people’s right to freedom of speech.

Mr Gervais tweeted at the time: “A man has been convicted in a UK court of making a joke that was deemed ‘grossly offensive’.

“If you don't believe in a person’s right to say things that you might find ‘grossly offensive’, then you don't believe in Freedom of Speech.”

Meechan was given an £800 fine, and served no jail time.  

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in