Monday 27 February 2017

Two brothers behind bars after judge sees abusive Facebook messages written after they were handed suspended jail terms

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Two brothers are behind bars after a judge hauled them back to court for abusive Facebook messages posted shortly after they were handed suspended jail terms.

Daniel Sledden, 27, mocked Judge Beverley Lunt online within 90 minutes of escaping custody after he earlier pleaded guilty to drug dealing.

While Samuel Sledden, 22, also posted an offensive comment barely 40 minutes after he too walked free from Burnley Crown Court when he also admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

Both defendants, from Accrington, Lancashire, were recalled to court on Tuesday as the judge ordered a review of their two-year jail sentences, suspended for two years.

Daniel Sledden had posted: "Cannot believe my luck 2 year suspended sentance (sic) beats the 3 year jail yes pal! Beverly [sic] Lunt go suck my ****" ,and his brother wrote: "What a day it's been Burnley crown court! Up ur **** aha nice 2 year suspended..."

Judge Lunt told the court she did not want to read the messages out which she said contained "offensive sexual elements".

She said: "It is plain they were never intending for me to see it, so they are not harassing me."

She said the messages did not amount to a contempt of court because the hearing had concluded and she was not aware either had committed an offence.

"I would have to complain, wouldn't I?", she said.

Judge Lunt added that remorse and contrition was "a vital component" when considering sentence but said the length of the jail terms were not wrong.

She continued: "It is the issue of suspension. Would I have done so had I appreciated, as I do now, their true views and what they really thought of the court proceedings."

The Sleddens and their father, William, 45, who also received a suspended jail sentence, had all admitted dealing cannabis from the family home in Hopwood Street between May and September 2014.

At the earlier sentencing hearing, Judge Lunt said she had been partly persuaded not to send the three family members to prison because there had been no criminal wrongdoing since.

The court heard today that both brothers had written letters of apology to the judge as the review was postponed until February 26 so the full transcript of the sentencing remarks could be obtained to assess what weight the judge gave to the prior expressions of remorse.

Judge Lunt said she was not prepared to grant bail to either defendant as she remanded them in custody.

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