A Lurgan man who sent a menacing message to an elected representative after taking “umbrage” at a public post has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
In sentencing the 27-year-old, the judge commented: “All I have to say is Jo Cox.”
Daniel Treanor, of Garland Avenue, pleaded guilty to improper use of public electronic communications at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
It was heard that on April 22, the injured party, who is an elected representative, reported that she had received a Facebook message from an account under the name of Dan Treanor.
This had been in response to a public tweet she had made regarding knife crime in the area.
The injured party attended Lurgan police station showing officers the messages and making a report.
Prosecution stated the messages included the phrase “your f*****” and were very derogatory towards this woman.
On April 23, the defendant was arrested and replied “no comment” to most questions asked during interview.
Treanor failed to acknowledge that he was the user of the account who had sent the messages.
Analysis of the defendant’s phone confirmed that the Dan Treanor account was active and linked to this device.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “This type of offence is becoming more and more common.”
District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “All I have to say is Jo Cox.”
Mr Lunny said: “He is a bright young man; the tweet was the repeat of a statement which had been in a local newspaper, the contents of which were not true.
“He was highly emotional; this was two days after his brother was stabbed. He read the message once in print then on the twitter feed, which linked a number of stabbings.”
He continued: “This was simply not true and he took umbrage at the belief his brother had been targeted by gangs.
“He knows how he went about it was wrong and that the language he used was unacceptable.”
Judge Kelly stated: “I have references here, there is a word here in one of them – trustworthy. Integrity is in the other; this is a man who has entries in his record for acts of dishonesty.
“They were obviously not aware of those and I am attaching no weight to these.”
Mr Lunny said: “His brother has recovered, his feelings have dissipated and one would hope that you won’t see him again.”
Judge Kelly stated: “Mr Treanor, I take it you know who Jo Cox was; there was a woman who said some things people did not agree with and that left a husband without a wife and children without a mother.
“What that individual did to her was probably done so in a temper and when he saw red, people cannot take the law into their own hands, your brother ended up in hospital because of that.”
She continued: “There are legitimate ways of airing your grievances, everyone who does a days work deserves to do so without this sort of abuse.
“Because of the rise in this sort of messaging online there is only one penalty I can impose, the message has to go out that this has to be stopped”.
Treanor was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for 12 months.