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13 December 2011, 17:16
A Manchester teenager, who boasted on Facebook about being spared custody after a pensioner was attacked with a concrete slab, has been condemned by MPs.
Ryan Girdlestone was electronically tagged and escaped with a curfew and restraining order after his lawyer claimed he was full of remorse for the incident which left Bernard O'Donnell, 79, with a suspected broken leg.
Girdlestone, 18, admitted using threatening and abusive behaviour in the run-up to the attack, in which another teenager hurled the slab at Mr O'Donnell.
But moments after leaving Manchester Magistrates' Court earlier this week, Girdlestone reportedly updated his Facebook status with the message: "Jus got out off court wiv a 4 mouths [sic] tag hahahha d**ks!!!.''
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said today: "That is very offensive to victims and to the general public.''
He was speaking after ex-home office junior minister Paul Goggins raised the case at justice questions in the Commons.
Mr Goggins asked: "What action do you intend to take against offenders who receive a community sentence instead of prison, but who then use social media to boast they have got away with it?
"I'm thinking in particular of comments posted on Facebook yesterday by Ryan Girdlestone, who mocked the court within minutes of receiving a restraining order for his part in a vicious attack on my constituent Bernard O'Donnell.
"Isn't that sheer contempt of the court and shouldn't he be held to account?''
Mr Clarke said the Government was looking at making community sentences "more effective'', adding: "They have to contain a genuine punishment in most cases and also be rehabilitative.''