Offensive Facebook comments were seen by grieving mum

Cupar Sheriff Court.
Cupar Sheriff Court.

A Leuchars man who posted offensive comments about British troops on his Facebook page has been fined £350.

Paul Muir (33) deleted the comments 20 minutes later and posted an apology - but his remarks had already been seen by a woman in Sussex who’d just lost her son in Afghanistan, and she was so upset that she called the police.

Muir, of 5 Norman View, made three offensive remarks, including ‘got to love the Afghans blowing the English up left, right and centre ...hahaha’

A screen grab was taken and the page circulated all over the country, Cupar Sheriff Court was told.

As a result Muir - the son of an RAF serviceman – was shunned by his local community and had even received death threats.

Earlier this year, he admitted committing a breach of the peace by posting the comments some time between March 1 and March 28 last year.

Sheriff Charles Macnair, himself a former army officer, deferred sentence for good behaviour, saying he had ‘some difficulty’ with the case. He commented that he didn’t think a fine would be appropriate because that would somehow be an insult to the British forces.

However Sheriff Macnair was not on the bench when Muir appeared for sentencing.

The fine was imposed by Sheriff Mhairi Mactaggart, who said that Muir’s apology was ‘well framed’ and came across as sincere.

“This is a serious matter,” she said.

“There is no doubt that comments of this nature would cause concern and distress to people whose families were involved in the armed forces.”

Defence solicitor Gemma Miller told the court that Muir accepted that it had been a ‘stupid’ thing to do.

When Muir first appeared on indictment in January, Sheriff Macnair told him: “This case illustrates the dangers of social networking sites better than many others.

“Forty years ago remarks were being made, probably when drunk, that would have been extremely distressing and upsetting but would not have got any wider circulation and would never have seen the light of day in a criminal court.

“For someone who lost a son in Afghanistan it is very difficult to imagine the hurt reading these remarks could have caused.”