A 25 year old man who used social media to harass a man because of his disability has been sentenced to six weeks imprisonment.
Saul Nyland, from Whitworth in Rochdale, pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment of the 31 year old victim.
Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard that between December 2014 and July 2015 the defendant harassed the victim on social media and by phone. The victim has a severe speech impediment and some physical difficulties caused by an accident in childhood. The CPS prosecuted this case as a disability hate crime and his sentence was extended from four weeks to six weeks.
In a personal statement to the Court, the victim said that the abuse was “destroying his life” and affecting his relationship. He said he had stopped going out.
Lionel Cope from Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said:
“Nyland targeted the victim and harassed him because of his disability. Nyland subjected the victim to a tirade of abuse online including posting a number of photo-shopped images of the victim which were hugely upsetting to both the victim and his partner.
“When the victim blocked Nyland online, he began ringing the victim on a nightly basis, mocking him for his disability and threatening to harm him. He also started to post abusive messages on the Facebook site of the victim’s partner.
“Hate crimes will not be tolerated – they are malicious, create fear and ruin lives. Nobody should be subjected to this abuse, online or offline, and the Crown Prosecution Service does everything in its power to bring these offenders to justice.”
The defendant and victim work in the construction industry and have worked alongside each other on several sites in the past year. The victim is a plant operator and had set up a number of Facebook pages offering advice and information about diggers and tractors. The sites had attracted a number of followers.
Saul Nyland was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, with a Victim surcharge of £80, and a Restraining Order of two years. An extra two weeks was added to his sentence because of the hate crime uplift. He was sentenced on Monday 25 January.