Port Talbot Town footballer will not face charges over offensive Tom Daley tweet
A Port Talbot Town footballer who posted a homophobic message about Olympic diver Tom Daley on Twitter will not face charges.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said today that Daniel Thomas's abusive message was “not so grossly offensive that criminal charges need to be brought.”
New guidelines for prosecutors on social media cases will also be issued, given the growing number of complaints, Keir Starmer added.
An offensive tweet appeared online after Daley, 18, and his dive partner Peter Waterfield, finished fourth in the 10m synchronised dive.
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The midfielder was later arrested after the message was widely distributed.
Mr Starmer said: “This was, in essence, a one-off offensive Twitter message, intended for family and friends, which made its way into the public domain.
“It was not intended to reach Mr Daley or Mr Waterfield, it was not part of a campaign, it was not intended to incite others and Mr Thomas removed it reasonably swiftly and has expressed remorse.
“Before reaching a final decision in this case, Mr Daley and Mr Waterfield were consulted by the CPS and both indicated that they did not think this case needed a prosecution.”
Mr Starmer said he would be issuing guidelines on social media cases for prosecutors to ensure that CPS decision-making "is clear and consistent."
“In the first instance, the CPS will draft interim guidelines.
“There will then be a wide public consultation before final guidelines are published.”
Mr Starmer said he will hold meetings with campaigners, media lawyers, academics, social media experts and law enforcement bodies to ensure that the guidelines are as fully informed as possible.
“But this is not just a matter for prosecutors. Social media is a new and emerging phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be confronted not only by prosecutors but also by others including the police, the courts and service providers," he added.
"The fact that offensive remarks may not warrant a full criminal prosecution does not necessarily mean that no action should be taken.
"In my view, the time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free speech in an age of social media.”