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December 16, 2013updated 17 Dec 2013 8:13pm

Two charged over ‘offensive tweets’ to journalist Caroline Criado-Perez

By Darren Boyle

The Metropolitan Police today charged two people with sending offensive tweets to journalist Caroline Criado-Perez.

Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle and John Nimmo, 25 from South Shields will both appear in Westminster Magistrates' Court in the New Year.

Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for the CPS in London, said: “Following early consultation with the police, the CPS has been asked to make a charging decision in respect of five suspects whom it is alleged sent offensive tweets to Stella Creasy MP and journalist and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

“We reviewed these cases in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media.

“After careful consideration of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge two suspects in relation to messages allegedly sent to Caroline Criado-Perez.

“Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle and John Nimmo, 25, from South Shields have both been charged with improper use of a communications network under Section 127 of the Communications Act.

“We have also determined there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution in respect of one suspect, whom it was alleged also sent offensive messages to Ms Criado-Perez, and have advised the police that no further action should be taken as the high threshold for prosecution has not been met.

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“In respect of one other suspect, who allegedly sent offensive messages to Stella Creasy MP, we determined that although there was sufficient evidence that an offence had been committed under Section 127 of the Communications Act, it would not be in the public interest to prosecute, having applied the Director’s guidelines and having particular regard to the young age and personal circumstances of the suspect.

“In relation to the fifth suspect, we have asked the police carry out further investigation before a charging decision can be made.”

The CPS has confirmed they have written to both Criado-Perez and Creasy (pictured above – Credit: Shift Stigma) to inform them of the decisions.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist, Organised and Economic Crime Command investigated a series of threatening tweets to both Criada-Perez and Labour MP Creasy. 

A 21 year-old-man was arrested on 28 July in Manchester and questioned by detectives, however he will not face any further action.

Nimmo, 25, was arrested on 30 July while Sorley, 23, was arrested on 22 October.

A 32 year-old man from Bristol arrested on 7 August and a 27 year-old man from York arrested on 12 November in connection with Twitter threats have both been bailed until the New Year.

A 14-year old boy was also interviewed under caution on 20 August. It has been determined that no further action will be taken in his case. 

Ubhey added: “Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo will now appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 January 2014.

“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against both defendants will now be commenced and that both have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

However Criado-Perez has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service's handling of the case, claiming they failed to inform her personally before the media that Sorley and Nimmo were being charged. 

She was joined in her criticism by Creasy who said she found out the latest development from the media. 

Criado-Perez told The Guardian:  "I am upset, we agreed a procedure. I found out from people on Twitter that charges were to be brought. I do not know who has been released and I would have thought that was information I should have had.

"I can't tell you anything other than what the press release tells you. The CPS will be receiving a formal complaint because the way they have handled it is appalling."

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