Racist Tweet Law Student Avoids Jail – But Career Prospects Damaged

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By Alex Aldridge on

Newcastle University law student Joshua Cryer has been sentenced to a two-year community order for sending ‘grossly offensive’ Twitter messages to ex-footballer Stan Collymore.

Having initially denied sending the tweets, claiming that his account had been hacked, Cryer (pictured) changed his plea and admitted his guilt at a hearing earlier this month.

Sentencing him this morning to what amounts to 240 hours of unpaid work, plus £150 in costs, District Judge Stephen Earl said: “The issue here is the racial element of the tweets. Without that, they would simply be tweets…

“You are a grown man who should know better. You are an educated man. I would’ve expected you to use your intellect in a better way than you have.

“I find it hard to fathom just how stupid this was. You should’ve known better. Your intellect is beyond this sort of behaviour, or at least it should be. What you did was foolish, immature and pathetic.

“You were a legend in your own head.”

Of the effect of a criminal record on Cryer’s future career, the judge added:

“I am aware this will have a dramatic effect on your studies and your career. But you have to man up as this is the reality. You have to live with it.

“You are not alone in feeling that social networking sites are wonderful things, but with that comes responsibility.

“People seem to either think social networking sites are marvellous or the world’s worst evil. In reality they are neither. But in the wrong hands they can be a problem.

“What is the purpose of sending him to custody? It will serve no purpose to society. He will remember me for a long time and certainly remember what he did for a long time.”

Veronica Jordan, prosecuting, told Newcastle Magistrates’ Court: “There are aggravating factors. The tweets are of a racist nature.

“The fact that there are repeated tweets, also the fact that he appears to be boastful. In one tweet he says ‘I have found a new hobby’.

“He then claimed his account had been hacked.

“There is an element of showing off to the offence, he seems to be trying to draw a response from Mr Collymore.

“It was not impulse. This is clear as he sent seven messages over a period of days.”

Defending, Andrew O’Hanlon said: “This is a lad with Asian friends. I would not say he is intrinsically racist.”

There’s more on this story, including details of Cryer’s racist tweets, here.