Grayling has announced a plan to change maximum prison sentence for online abuse from six months to two years
Grayling spoke of a “baying cybermob” and believed that the changes will allow magistrates to pass on the most serious cases to crown courts.
The case appeared to have been inspired by Chloe Madeley, the daughter of television presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, who was trolled after she defended her mother’s remarks about the convicted rapist Ched Evans.
Madeley faced rape threats on social media after she defended her mother’s remarks that Evans, who was released from prison last week after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman, should be allowed to resume his career as a footballer because his rape had not been violent and he had not caused “any bodily harm.”
Grayling told the Mail on Sunday: “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the six-month sentence.
“People are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion. This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years,” he said.
Chloe Madeley told the Wail on Sunday that the law needs to be reviewed. It needs to be accepted that physical threats should not fall under the ‘freedom of speech’ umbrella. It should be seen as online terrorism and it should be illegal.