Following two days of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Rupert Quaintance came back with a verdict earlier today at Southwark Crown Court: they declared Rupert guilty of two of five charges of Harassment Level 4 (putting people in fear of violence).
At about 11:40 a.m., the sequestered jury sent a note to the court stating that they had been unable to reach a unanimous verdict. They also asked whether 5 September 2016 was the first day of school. Judge Martin Griffith said he would accept an 11-1 or even 10-2 verdict if necessary, though a unanimous decision would obviously have been preferable.
He also confirmed that 5 September was the first day of school.
Rupert had been charged with five counts of Harassment 4; he was found guilty of two of them, and was sentenced to a nine-month prison sentence on each conviction, to run concurrently. In addition, he was given a criminal behavioural order which will be in force for five years; he was also assessed costs for the trial.
In his sentencing, Judge Griffith quoted U.S. president Harry S. Truman: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”, referring to Rupert’s complaints that he had been trolled and harassed following making threats of harm to the parents of Hampstead. He noted the growing impact of the internet on people’s lives, and emphasised the importance of self-regulation and thoughtfulness when making posts online.
Rupert made no response as the verdict and sentencing were read, and was taken down to the cells immediately following sentencing.
Belinda McKenzie, who had attended the trial regularly since it started, was not present during today’s verdict and sentencing.