The petition to boot the £20 note burning law student out of Cambridge is a step too far

By on

Enough is enough


Ronald Coyne will want to put the events of the past few days behind him.

The apparently quiet and mild-mannered University of Cambridge law student hit headlines across the country on Thursday after footage emerged of him burning a £20 note. Fanning the flames of internet outrage, the 18-year-old, wearing a formal dress code know as white tie, chose to carry out the cash burning stunt in the vicinity of a homeless man.

Now, before I become the subject of my own internet bashing, I would like to make it clear from the start that Coyne’s behaviour is abhorrent. However, a petition calling for Coyne to be kicked out of the elite university — which has received over 20,000 signatures since it was set up a few days ago — is a step too far.


It’s a step too far firstly, and perhaps of most importance given the focus of this website, because of Coyne’s future career in law. I think everyone is in agreement that as a result of his drunken mistake, his chances of securing a training contract/pupillage have been dealt a severe blow. With social media checks common-place at the top City firms, it wouldn’t take a graduate recruiter very long to stumble across Coyne’s past indiscretion. With this in mind, setting up a petition is the online equivalent of punching a man teenager while he’s already heading towards the canvas.

I also question whether there would have been half as much outrage if Coyne’s background had been different. What if the young aspiring lawyer had attended a less prestigious university? Had he not been educated at a public school? If he was not, until recently, a member of the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA)? I certainly don’t think there would be a petition calling for him to be booted off his course if this was the case.

The tabloids — which are motivated by sales and clicks — can frame this incident how they like. ‘Oh, it was a representation of the elitism rife within Cambridge,’ or ‘Coyne is just a typical Tory supporting toff.’ These were the actions of a naive young man who fell foul to social media’s all-seeing eye. Nothing more, nothing less. The petition is born out of the media’s portrayal of what it believes Coyne represents. Lets not make him a scapegoat for what are bigger problems at play.

Please don’t get me wrong, Coyne’s behaviour should be punished. However let’s put down the pitchforks and torches and try and achieve something positive from this sorry mess. Channeling public anger into raising money for the homeless in Cambridge would be a far more productive response. Maybe Coyne himself should do some volunteering at a local soup kitchen or shelter. A petition — presumably created by someone who has never even met Coyne nor knows how this incident has impacted him — preventing him from finishing his legal studies is not the answer.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub here.



And yet Legal Cheek named him.






But of course.

Throwing him off his course is a step too far.

Every step before that right up to and including plastering his name all over the top of Legal Cheek so his name is connected with this stupid act in the mind of everyone who googles him for the rest of his life (including potential employers) is perfectly fine and to be encouraged… especially if it increasea Legal Cheek traffic!



Exactly what I was thinking. Legal Cheek exposed him, wrote articles adding fuel to the fire and now have the cheek (get it?) to write this bull.



LC exposed him? It was the top story on the Mail Online for 6 hours before they got hold of it.



His name was already public knowledge via National Newspapers. I doubt this made any difference



Why add fuel to the fire?



Sensible and level-headed piece.



We live in an age of such hatred. I’m glad there’s an article putting this affair into perspective.



About as sensible as a large armaments manufacturer lamenting the dead and wounded in one of the ongoing Middle Eastern conflicts, all the while as he ships hundreds of millions-worth of fighter-bombers and high explosive artillery shells to one of the local governments.

Utter hypocrisy.



Dat dere geopolitical example. Fuark brah.


Travelling Gavel

Hi Alex


John Thornton

Thomas Connelly of course has altered what happened to suit Mr Coyne’s case. He didn’t just burn a £20 note in the vicinity of a Homeless Man , Mr Coyne thought it would be sport to taunt his Victim by first offering him the note then withdrawing it and setting fire to it whilst filming the man’s reaction. That behaviour takes a special kind of little ‘ shit ‘ to carry out. So Mr. Connelly never mind supporting Coyne by subtly dressing up the facts



LOL Someone on LC finally has an opinion



Hi Tommy.


Iami Tafari

Coyne pay LC to write it


Cambridge insider

Coyne wrote it!



Burn money, get banged


Mike Litoris

He deserves the same humiliation he gave to the homeless man.
Thomas you’re nearly as bad as Ms King.


Brown Circle firm trainee

Oh, so now the worm’s sorry? A bit too late, Ronnie.



Drunken teenager does something which isn’t illegal and which he regrets instantly, but has the misfortune to be caught on camera doing it, and people want his life ruined?

Yes, it was horribly offensive, but he’s more than learnt his lesson.



Might be illegal actually- s.5 and 4A Public Order Act 1986.



Well, ok, but something which the CPS would pursue.

Isn’t there an old law too about burning the Queen’s head , or is that just a myth from The Office?



The CPS would pursue it if he were a tracksuit clad chav, but they won’t because he’s establishment.



Didn’t know you were a David Icke fan…


Burning of the queens head in itself is not an office unless it was an with the intention to depose the crown (Treason Felony Act 1848).



I’d behead him for treason for defacing an image of Queen Lizzy.



Yes a S5 or S4a would be appropriate. No doubt had this been a normal working class person they would have been dealt with under these Laws, however as he is a chinless, spineless, sanctimonious waste of skin I doubt it . In any event a decent person whatever their background or class would not have treated someon like this. He wants to be able to continue with his Law studies well no doubt if that is the case he will come to the public view again as he obviously thinks he can do what he wants let’s hope he never gets to be admitted into The Law Society as no doubt he will bring shame on the profession. Cambridge the world is watching expel him. It’s no use saying well he is only 18 yes we have men and women of that age serving in the front line defending this Country and others , in simple terms , his true character or lack of has been recognised to show him exactly for what he is an oxygen thief .



How do we know he regrets it?

He hasn’t issued an apology.

His Mummy just issued a statement saying he’s not posh and it’s out of character. Both utter codswallop.



Oh well, Tom has spoken. Better call the whole thing off.



I do think there’s a lot people with the “my sh•t don’t stink” attitude; I’m willing to bet most people who’ve signed this petition don’t give a damn about the homeless. I acknowledge that there is a difference between not caring and actively insulting homeless people, but the whole reaction does smack of people just wanting to take down a privileged weirdo, but masking their self-serving glee at doing so in a mask of self-righteousness.



Basically just a rip-off of The Tab’s article yesterday. Legal Cheek is one of the main instigators of witch hunts in the legal sector at the moment – perhaps you should take on board the (‘borrowed’) views that you’re putting across in this article.



Did they instigate the witch hunt or did they report on a story that had already hit all of the mainstream papers and which involved a law student?



We say this every single time to LC “don’t shine too much light on the issue, everyone makes mistakes, now you have blacklisted their name” but now you’re telling us?! Pull another one LC!



I doubt many students from your average background would have £20 to burn and wave in the face of a homeless man.



Don’t be daft – as a student from a distinctly average background I have a twenty quid note in my wallet right now. We’re not impoverished.



Yes, but you wouldn’t burn it for a laugh, would you?



No, but then neither would most rich people. And even if I did I wouldn’t have the baliffs at my door.

Basically, stop grandstanding by making out £20 is some kind of king’s ransom.



You must be terrible at problem questions having missed/failed to address the part on actually burning the £20 (as well as actually having it).




This sentence…

“You must be terrible at problem questions having missed/failed to address the part on actually burning the £20 (as well as actually having it).”

…is how a moron writes.



Education is the only thing that’ll fix him. Even if it is a privileged one. Shunning him from university in hopes to relegate him to a “lesser” university is pointless. As if that’ll ground him in someway. It’s also an insult to all other universities who probably don’t want him either.



This will probably be deleted soon, but someone from this knob’s circle has got at Legal Cheek and made them publish a more “balanced” article, on pain of legal action.

As usual, money talks.

Perhaps an interview with Mr Ryan on how he was made to feel would balance it up even further?

And he was a man. He’s 18. He’s at University. Enough of the extended childhoods already.



The last bit – ‘He’s 18. He’s at University. Enough of the extended childhoods already.’ is the best response to your own argument.


I am Spartacus

This will probably be deleted soon, but someone from this knob’s circle has got at Legal Cheek and made them publish a more “balanced” article, on pain of legal action.


No, I am Spartacus

This will probably be deleted soon, but someone from this knob’s circle has got at Legal Cheek and made them publish a more “balanced” article, on pain of legal action.


Actually I am Spartacus

This will probably be deleted soon, but someone from this knob’s circle has got at Legal Cheek and made them publish a more “balanced” article, on pain of legal action.



It’s very naïve to think that this little escapade will affect his opportunities of securing a training contract. Big firms are surprisingly adept at overlooking some of the less palatable aspects of a hopeful’s character. In fact, I know of at least one firm that overlooks the lack of capacity of a trainee on account of their surname.



Clifford Chance, I suspect?


Aysh Al-Cliffordi




I bet if he was an ethnic minority and/or a woman then people wouldn’t be so quick to demand their removal from university



Trust someone to bring right-wing politics into it…

Oh, sorry, I forgot, Coyne IS far-right.

Hello Coyne, ye knob!!!



This will probably be deleted soon, but someone from this knob’s circle has got at Legal Cheek and made them publish a more “balanced” article, on pain of legal action.


Comments are closed.