Berwick woman sentenced for offensive Facebook posts

A Berwick woman who sent offensive messages to the owner of the former Lazeez restaurant has been sentenced.

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 08:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 10:52 am
Lazeez in Berwick

Chanel Ryan, 23, of Main Street, Spittal, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.

Berwick magistrates heard that on June 4, the defendant had been offered a job at the Golden Square restaurant by Ali Eldessouky.

However, when she then saw a video which Mr Eldessouky had posted on his Facebook page three years earlier, she sent him a string of offensive and racist messages on Facebook.

She believed the video, featuring Mr Eldessouky and friends, was sympathetic to terrorists following atrocities in London and Paris. She re-posted the video on her own Facebook page and it was seen by 77,000 people.

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Mr Eldessouky was later cleared by police of any wrong-doing. In a statement read out at court, he said that, as a consequence, he had windows put out in his restaurant and his business had been ruined by the defendant.

In mitigation, Ian O’Rourke told magistrates that Mr Eldessouky had appeared at County Court for non-payment of rent so it was unfair to put the entire blame on her. The business had since closed.

“I am not condoning her behaviour,” he continued. “She made inappropriate, offensive and racist remarks. She acted in an impulsive and emotional way.”

Magistrates said: “As a result of reposting the video, you caused a great deal of distress. You did not smash the window but that’s where it went.”

They imposed a 12-month community order with 20 hours’ rehabilitation, a £120 fine, £30 costs and ordered her to pay £50 compensation.