‘Trolls’ to face tougher punishments

Ben Flower is sent off in the Grand Final

Ben Flower is sent off in the Grand Final

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INTERNET trolls who post abusive messages like those directed at under-fire Warriors player Ben Flower will face tougher punishments.

Those who take part in a “baying cyber-mob” could serve up to two years behind bars as a result of new laws set to be introduced.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled the Government’s hard-line this week.

The move comes a matter of days since 26-year-old Wales international Flower was subjected to abuse following his red card in the Super League Grand Final for punching Saints player Lance Hohaia.

He has since deleted his Twitter account having received death-threats on the social media micro-blogging site.

One user in particular launched a tirade of threatening tweets including stating that he deserved to be shot and promised he would get his “come-uppance”.

It was the latest in a string of incidents involving Twitter threats against celebrities.

Speaking to a national newspaper this week, Mr Grayling said his intention was to “take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.”

He said: “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life.

“No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence.”

Under the current law, people who subject their victims to sexually offensive and verbally abusive.