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Jailed student loses Muamba appeal
A student who mocked soccer star Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after he collapsed with a heart attack has lost his appeal against a 56-day jail term.
Liam Stacey, 21, of Pontypridd, south Wales, sobbed as he was taken away following the failed sentence appeal hearing at Swansea Crown Court.
Mr Justice Wyn Williams told him he rejected an argument that Stacey had already been punished enough.
He said the Swansea University biology student had admitted an offence, racially aggravated public disorder, of intent. "He was intending to say what he said and was intending to produce the effect that he did," he added.
He heard the appeal with two magistrates from the court where the original sentence was imposed last Tuesday. After listening to arguments from both sides, he adjourned for 30 minutes to reach a conclusion.
He returned more than 90 minutes later and immediately apologised for the delay.
"You will all understand that this is a very emotive and very difficult case and we wanted to be sure in our minds that what we were doing was right," he said.
He went on to highlight a penalty notice that Stacey received in March last year for violent disorder. The incident had previously been overlooked and was not mentioned at Stacey's earlier sentencing.
It was triggered by a drunken Stacey becoming violent as he was ejected from a pub, which caused the police to be called. He went on to threaten and swear at the officers who arrived and was eventually arrested for a public order offence.
Earlier Paul Hobson, for Stacey, who had been unaware of the offence, set out why the student should be freed. "What he did on that particular night was vile," he began. "But I would submit that the court can conclude that, vile though his actions were, he is not a vile person."