Mock sentence

Manchester teen uses Facebook to mock sentence

A Manchester man who was injured in a "vicious" attack has said one of the teenagers involved was "evil" for mocking his court sentence on Facebook.

Bernard O´Donnell, 79, sustained a leg injury in the assault on Halloween.

Ryan Girdlestone, 18, who admitted affray, was electronically tagged and given a curfew and restraining order.

But moments after leaving court, he updated his Facebook status with the message: "Jus got out off court wiv a 4 mouths [sic] tag hahahha".

A concrete slab was thrown at Mr O´Donnell outside his home in Sandacre Road, Baguley, on 31 October after eggs had been thrown at his windows.

In court Girdlestone´s lawyer said his client was full of remorse.

´Sheer contempt´

Girdlestone pleaded guilty to anti-social behaviour and affray on 9 December at Manchester Magistrates´ Court and was sentenced on Monday.

Mr O´Donnell said: "It is quite disgraceful. There´s a terrible lack of grace. In its place we´ve got evil and it´s spreading I´m afraid.

"I think it reflects a general attitude of many of the youth of today.

"They lack moral fibre, they lack morality. Good or bad doesn´t come anywhere in their vocabulary.

When Mr O´Donnell´s MP Paul Goggins raised the matter in the Commons, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said: "That is very offensive to victims and to the general public."

Mr Goggins asked Mr Clarke: "What action do you intend to take against offenders who receive a community sentence instead of prison, but who then use social media to boast they have got away with it?

"I´m thinking in particular of comments posted on Facebook yesterday by Ryan Girdlestone, who mocked the court within minutes of receiving a restraining order for his part in a vicious attack on my constituent Bernard O´Donnell.

"Isn´t that sheer contempt of the court and shouldn´t he be held to account?"

Mr Clarke said the government would be looking to make community sentences "more effective".

He said: "They have to contain a genuine punishment in most cases and also be rehabilitative."

(Published by BBC - December 13, 2011)

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