Twitter troll guilty of Salmond assassination jibe

Troll tweeted "Think I might assassinate Alex Salmond'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Troll tweeted "Think I might assassinate Alex Salmond'. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A TWITTER troll threatened to assassinate the First Minister because he “doesn’t really like the SNP”, a court heard on Friday.

Christopher Stevenson, 26, posted “Think I might assassinate Alex Salmond” while watching a TV programme about him.

But an American visitor to Scotland saw the message on the social networking site and contacted the police.

Fire safety security technician Stevenson, from Alexandra Gate in Glasgow’s east end, told police it was a joke when they interviewed him before he was arrested.

Stevenson was convicted by sheriff Graeme Warner after trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, of behaving in a “threatening or abusive manner which was likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm”.

He told Stevenson: “I’m sure you must know we live in a fairly sensitive age when some people, typically young men do some pretty crazy things that older folk like me find almost impossible to comprehend.”

The sheriff said although he accepted Stevenson meant it as a joke, had he been a Twitter user and seen the message he would have “opened his eyes”.

He added: “I might even have gone so far as to contact the police - it wasn’t a surprise to me in the least someone took that course of action.”

The court heard from DC Paul Fraser who took Stevenson to London Road police office and interviewed him.

DC Fraser told the court that an American person visiting Scotland had seen the message and reported it to police.

Excerpts of the interview were read in court.

He was asked to give details about his involvement in the posting of the message online.

Stevenson told officers: “I posted on Twitter that I think I might assassinate Alex Salmond, there’s not really much detail in that.

“I was watching, I think it was The Smoking Gun that was on last night on BBC2.

“It was a programme about SNP, Scottish Independence and whatnot, I posted it after that.”

Asked why he posted it he replied: “I don’t really like the SNP and I thought it would be funny but it’s not funny because I’m sitting here.”

Stevenson - who has no previous convictions - said he had no wishes to harm or assassinate Mr Salmond and that it was a “joke”.

Asked what his demeanour was throughout the interview, DC Fraser said Stevenson was “upset”.

In evidence Stevenson said that to see his messages on Twitter his account has to be “followed” and that his followers are friends and family members.

He said the comment was a joke for them, who know his sense of humour.

He told the court: “My followers are my friends, my sense of humour does get me into trouble because I’m standing here.

“They all thought it was funny. Someone has searched the key words Alex Salmond on Twitter and found my comment and it has been re-tweeted.”

Asked about the programme he was watching on the TV while the message was posted, he said: “It was basically the rise of Alex Salmond and SNP.”

The message was posted about 10 minutes after it started.

Stevenson said his intention in posting the comment was that it was “just a joke” to his followers.

He told the court: “It was done as a joke, it’s hard to explain to other people.

“My followers are my friends, they get it as a joke.”

He added: “I understand why I am standing here.”

Stevenson was asked: “Who was intended to see the Tweet?” and replied “Just my followers”.

The sheriff deferred sentence for a year for Stevenson to be of good behaviour.