Those who post ‘grossly offensive’ comments of Twitter could escape prosecution if they only have a few hundred followers, the director of public prosecutions has suggested.
Keir Starmer has said that it could be appropriate to only prosecute someone if their tweet has a large reach, while those whose tweet might only be seen by a few dozen others might go unpunished.
He suggested that intent and impact would also play a role in suggesting what could be counted as grossly offensive.
Starmer is involved in developing new guidelines, having said that previously things have been decided on a case by case basis, but there were so many cases that this is no longer possible.
An example was given of Daniel Tomas, a 17-year-old from Dorset who was arrested for in July for abusing Tom Daley on Twitter, and was not charged because he only had a few hundred followers.
Starmer said: “I’m not an advocate of this position, I’m a prosecutor who recognises the sovereignty of Parliament.
“We should try and make the law work before we call for amendment or repeal.
"All I can do is issue guidelines about the direction we will take. We’ve got to find a way through which is acceptable to the majority of law-abiding citizens."