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The Text Message Typo That Landed a Man In Jail 547

Posted by Soulskill
from the auto-correct-going-on-the-offensive dept.
Barence writes "A British man was jailed for 18 months for accidentally sending an explicit text message to his entire address book. 24-year-old swimming coach Craig Evans intended to send a text message to his girlfriend asking her for sex. Instead, the message was accidentally sent to his entire BlackBerry address book, including two girls, aged 13 and 14, from his swimming class. He was subsequently arrested and charged with 'causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity,' and – incredibly – jailed for 18 months at Birmingham Crown Court in July. Yesterday, an appeal's court freed Evans, although he wasn't cleared — the sentence was merely reduced to a nine-month suspended jail term."
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The Text Message Typo That Landed a Man In Jail

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  • Project seX? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:55AM (#41486867)
    Sounds a little like the ProjetX we had here in Holland. A girl accidentally asked the whole FB community to join her on her birthday-party. She forgot to mention that it was for her friends and family only.
    Thousands gathered in a small village (pop. 20.000), rioted, plundered stores, burned cars, damage ~ 1 million total.
    A quick search on "projectX Haren" should suffice for more info.

    On the guy... that is well inconvenient mate!
  • Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:55AM (#41486869) Homepage
    Only source for this appears to be the Daily Mail, not a publication noted for its accurate reporting. How easy is it to accidentally send a text message to an entire contact list on Blackberries? I've never used a phone that made such a thing possible.
  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by The Dancing Panda (1321121) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:58AM (#41486899)
    He's the swim coach. That's fairly common, for quick updates about practices and meets.
  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by artfulshrapnel (1893096) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:03AM (#41486929)

    Kids of a friend? Friends of a kid? Nephew/Niece? He needed to give them a ride somewhere once, he's an emergency contact for them, or maybe they friended him on Facebook because he's a buddy of their dad's and around the house a lot, and included their numbers in their profile?

    There's a decent number of reasons that a 30-something normal adult would have the numbers of a few children in their address book. If there were like... 20 children that would start to get weird, but two seems pretty normal especially if there's some logical connection.

  • by nten (709128) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:07AM (#41486967)

    You can send a broadcast message to all contacts in a folder or to individual contacts. Recipients cannot reply to broadcast messages.

            On the Contact list screen, press the Menu key.
            Click Broadcast Message.
            Complete the Announcement field.
            If you have administrator permissions and want to send the broadcast message to all of the users on the server, select the System message check box. Click OK.
            Click Recipients.
            Click a folder.
            Perform one of the following actions:
                    To send the broadcast message to all of the contacts in the folder, select the Select All check box.
                    To send the broadcast message to individual contacts in the folder, select the check box beside the contacts.
            Click OK.
            Click OK.

    That seems hard to do by accident, but at least slightly possible.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:19AM (#41487083)

    13 - 14 years transport themselves, at least where I live. They use either buses or bicycle.

  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:21AM (#41487101)

    "No, they go to the parents who transport their children to the meetings."

    Kids use public transports outside the US, we're not backwards morons.

  • Re:Hrm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vintermann (400722) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:26AM (#41487151) Homepage

    It's much more likely that the Daily Mail made up some details (such as it being a Blackberry, or the guy being a swimming instructor, or the guy having a girlfriend etc.) than that they made up a case like this out of whole cloth and attached it to a picture of a real person.

  • Re:Where are they? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:31AM (#41487187)

    There must usually be a guilty mind (mens rea) but - and you'll need to check the offence for exactly what's required -

    1. Not always. There are strict or near-strict liability offences, e.g. carrying a knife where the only mindful aspect is knowing that you're carrying it;

    2. Even then, there are loads of other forms of guilty mind: recklessness, knowledge, belief, (criminal) negligence, etc. Recklessness is particularly interesting: as of 2003 this is by default subjective, i.e. you have to show that the defendant knew that there would be a risk of a particular outcome but that he went to take that risk anyway. I might try as follows:

    i) Firstly, show that he knew that it was easy to accidentally send messages to everyone - perhaps easier if he'd set up an "everyone including the kids" contact group.

    i) Secondly, show the guy was in the habit of sending explicit messages to his partner.

    It's like chucking stones around and accidentally hitting a greenhouse. Sure, every young guy thinks he is hot shit and will never fuck anything up, but if he is aware of the risk which comes from fucking up and breaking the greenhouse yet still chucks stones around, he has a guilty mind.

    A 9 month suspended sentence is OK. What is far worse for him is the effect of his criminal record on esp. employment prospects. The law on spent convictions is completely fucked (e.g. sex offender register, enhanced CRB disclosure) and essentially condemns all but the least of criminals for life - coincidentally making them desperate and likely to commit more crime.

  • Re:FTA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperMooCow (2739821) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:53AM (#41487473)
    But that's how they reproduce!
  • Re:FTA... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:37AM (#41488063)

    yea, except that doesn't make HIM money by any means necessary.

    The only budget proposal that balances the budget is the one created by the congressional progressive caucus.

    The Ryan plan does not balance the budget, it continues deficit for the foreseeable future.

    Romney will do the same thing to the US Government as he did for the companies he bought through Bain capital. Leach them dry and sell their dessicated corpses for fun and profit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:41AM (#41488113)

    Pedophilia is a sexual preference for prepubescent children. Sexual preference for young adolescents is hebephilia.

  • by queazocotal (915608) on Friday September 28, 2012 @10:42AM (#41488127)

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/contents [legislation.gov.uk]
    The relevant section is http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/10 [legislation.gov.uk]
    "Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity

    (1)A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—
    (a)he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,
    (b)the activity is sexual, and
    (c)either—
    (i)B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or
    (ii)B is under 13.
    (2)A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the activity caused or incited involved—
    (a)penetration of B’s anus or vagina,
    (b)penetration of B’s mouth with a person’s penis,
    (c)penetration of a person’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body or by B with anything else, or
    (d)penetration of a person’s mouth with B’s penis,is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.
    (3)Unless subsection (2) applies, a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—
    (a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
    (b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years."

    "would you fuck me" - is clearly inciting penetration, so you can do up to 14 years for this.

    This is _NOT_ a strict liability offence.
    The jury must have had reason to believe that he intended to do this.
    Doing it by accident _CANNOT_ lead to a conviction, unless the judge misdirects them.
    For example - if he'd directed that because he intended to send it to one person on the list, that intent carried over to the unintended recipients.

    Indeed, I can't seem to see any 'strict liability' offences in the act.
    I may have missed some.
    At a minimum you need to have intended the action and not known the other party was underage.

  • Re:I can only assume (Score:4, Informative)

    by donscarletti (569232) on Friday September 28, 2012 @11:19AM (#41488679)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_Rea [wikipedia.org]>Mens Rea is required for all crimes.
  • Re:I can only assume (Score:5, Informative)

    by scot4875 (542869) on Friday September 28, 2012 @12:03PM (#41489309) Homepage

    When were gays ever lynched in America?

    Seriously? I lived in a small college town of about 30k and while I was growing up, there were *two* openly gay guys that ended up either dead or just disappeared.

    Perhaps you're just trying to nit-pick that technically, most gays don't get lynched -- they just get murdered by one person, a la Matthew Shepard -- but the end result is about the same. And no, it's nowhere as prevalent as the lynchings of black people in the south ... but just because it isn't as bad or as visible, doesn't mean it should be ignored.

    --Jeremy

  • by westlake (615356) on Friday September 28, 2012 @12:26PM (#41489623)

    I would bet if he had accidentally killed those two girls with his car, he would have gotten less jail time.

    It is a bet you might very well lose:

    Sentencing

    A person convicted of causing death by dangerous driving is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years. Disqualification for a minimum of two years is obligatory on conviction. Endorsement is obligatory on conviction. The offense carries three to eleven penalty points (when the defendant is exceptionally not disqualified).

    The Court of Appeal in R v Cooksley and others gave guidelines for cases where death is caused by dangerous driving. In R v Richardson the Court of Appeal reassessed the starting point set out in R v Cooksley taking into consideration the increase in the maximum penalty. The relevant starting points identified in Cooksley should be reassessed as follows:

    i) No aggravating circumstances --- twelve months to two years' imprisonment (previously 18 months);
    ii) Intermediate culpability --- two to four and a half years' imprisonment (previously 3 years);
    iii) Higher culpability --- four and a half to seven years' imprisonment (previously 5 years);
    iv) Most serious culpability --- seven to fourteen years' imprisonment (previous starting point of 6 years).

    Causing death by dangerous driving [wikipedia.org]

  • by show me altoids (1183399) on Friday September 28, 2012 @01:05PM (#41490145)
    Your statement only applies to Federal judges. Most judges that would hear a criminal case are not Federal judges.
  • Re:I can only assume (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @01:23PM (#41490333)

    When were gays ever lynched in America?

    1998: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard

  • by Some Bitch (645438) on Friday September 28, 2012 @01:31PM (#41490433)

    Times change. The Bard used to be Shakespeare for his humor and insightful lines about human nature - now Adams is the Bard for the same reason.

    "The Bard" in that context is short for "The Bard of Avon" so no, it can't really be applied to someone else. I did a quick check just in case there was some social movement of which I was unaware and can find no reference to Douglas Adams as "The Bard" outside this thread.

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