MP's Victory In Cyber Bullying Case

Changes to sentencing following case raised in parliament

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Angie Bray MP

MP fury over teenage grooming case

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Cyber bullies are likely to get tougher sentences after Ealing's MP, Angie Bray, highlighted the disturbing case of one of her constituents in parliament.

Ms Bray spoke during the Child Sexual Exploitation (13th November 2012) debate about a teenage girl who had been 'verbally raped' by an older man who'd sent her 2,000 texts over 18 months.

Because the threats were threats and never acted upon the judge was compelled - by law - to instruct the jury to find him not guilty. He walked free from court.

Ealing Central and Acton MP, Angie Bray, was appalled that the law didn't offer the teenager any protection and said it had to be changed.

She said: ''What I want to do is ensure that the worst cases of malicious communications can be sent to a higher court where much tougher sentences are available.

'' In the case of my constituents, a young 13 year old girl was persecuted for a year or more by an adult male who sent her explicit sexual texts, sometimes 30 a day, completely traumatising her in the process so she had to leave school.

''More generally the level of bullying on various social networks is literally ruining lives.  We need sentences which can reflect just how serious the problem can be."

Now Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has announced new rules will be brought in to target offenders who abuse or sexually harass victims online or on mobiles.

Changes will also give prosecutors more time to build a case in an area of law where it has often proved difficult to get a conviction.

It follows a number of high profile incidents in which mobiles or social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook have been used to abuse people.

A committee of MPs will disuss the issue on Thursday and if approved will be added to laws to be voted on later this year

26th March 2014