Articles

Buckley in Court

A Usenet Post

Date: 14 May 1999 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <373c5bec.718817@news.btinternet.com> [typos corrected]

BTInternet to Clamp Down on Rude Words
 
Events in the local technical support group for BTInternet
took a bizarre turn this week when manager Nick Truman
threatened gatecrashers with criminal proceedings if
they didn't moderate their language.
 
Chris Buckley, the kid at the centre of the row, replied:
 
> If there was *ANY* truth in what NT has stated then
> everyone on Usenet would have been sued by now.
 
You may be right Chris...
 
                A Courtroom.
 
Judge: One moment, Mr Truman, is the dispute something
to do with this Internet thing I keep hearing about?
 
Truman: Yes M'lud.
 
Judge: Don't understand it myself.  My grandchildren
do. So tell me, Mr Truman, are you basically selling
pornography by computer?
 
Truman: No, no, no, M'lud!
 
Judge: Very serious business, pornography.  What
exactly is your job, Mr Truman?
 
Truman: I'm BTi's IMS Helpdesk Support Manager.
 
Judge: Again, please?  In English this time.
 
Truman: I manage the helpdesk for BTi.
 
Judge: You manage a desk?
 
Truman: I organise the people who give help to other 
people who can't get connected to the Internet properly.
 
Judge: You run the complaints department?
 
Truman: We call it the helpdesk.
 
Judge: I see.  Perhaps we should move on.  What is
your charge against Mr Buckley?
 
Truman: He invaded a support group and offended people
with his swearing.
 
Judge: The occasional "M'lud" would stop me being
offended too, Mr Truman.
 
Truman: M'lud.
 
Judge: What kind of support group is this?  Some
sort of self-help for Internet addicts?
 
Truman: Oh no!  We try to get people onto it.
 
Judge: Pardon?
 
Truman: M'lud.
 
Judge: You try to get people addicted to the Internet?
Why would that be, Mr Truman?
 
Truman: No, er, M'lud, we try to get them *connected*
to the Internet.
 
Judge: I thought you just picked up an AOL disk.
 
Truman: Yes, that's one way.
 
Judge: And you help them do whatever they have to do
with the AOL disk?
 
Truman: No, we're BTInternet, not AOL.  We do have a
disk but it's different.
 
Judge: "M'lud".  I see.  So where does Mr Buckley
come into this?  Has he got one of your disks?
 
Truman: No, M'lud.
 
Judge: Is this correct, Mr Buckley?
 
Buckley: Yes, yer daft old ****, I don't give a ****
about BTi, I don't use their **** stuff at all.
 
Judge:  Ah, kids!  You sound just like my granddaughter.
Remember to call me "M'lud", though.
 
Buckley: Ok, M'-*******-lud!!!
 
Judge: That's better.  Now be quiet for a moment, Christopher.
Mr Truman, if Mr Buckley doesn't use your, er, disk, what
have you got to do with him in this self-help group of
yours?
 
Truman: It's NOT a self-help group!  It's a discussion
group where people discuss why our, er, disk doesn't work.
 
Judge: Riveting stuff, full of human interest I should
imagine. Your disk doesn't work and Mr Buckley doesn't use
it.  Why do any people go to the meetings?
 
Truman:  They're not meetings, it's just messages on
computers.  .... um M'lud.
 
Judge: And you preside over this medium?
 
Truman: Not really. I manage it.
 
Judge: Mr Truman...
 
Truman: M'lud !!
 
Judge: Am I to understand that Mr Buckley places messages
on people's computers that they find offensive?
 
Truman: Yes, M'lud, that's exactly it!
 
Judge: Why would people want to see such messages?
 
Truman: They can't help it...
 
Judge: Net addicts?
 
Truman: No!  M'lud.
 
Judge: Problems with your disk, perhaps?
 
Truman: Not really, M'lud.  Buckley has no right to
send them.
 
Judge: I suggest you leave matters of the law to me.
I ask you again: why do people have to see Mr Buckley's
messages?
 
Truman: He uses another company's er... disk ... to
send them and then our customers have to see them, M'lud.
 
Judge: Because of the defects in your disk?
 
Truman: NO!!! M'lud.  Because of the defects in our
computers.
 
Judge: Which you manage?
 
Truman: No, someone else does that.
 
Judge: Very well.  In summary, you object to Mr Buckley's
schoolboy language which your disk allows him to send
to customers who can't get it working because your
computers are faulty.  And you would like me to send
him to prison for this?
 
Truman: Yes please, M'lud.
 
Judge: Can your disk get pornography?
 
Truman: Er, well, yes, M'lud.
 
Judge: Give me one of these disks.
 
Truman: That'll be ten quid plus tax, but for
you M'lud, I'll waive the tax.
 
Judge: Thank you. Case dismissed. Costs against the
plaintiff.  Now, how do I use this pornography disk
of yours?

Derek Potter

Life imitates art

Amazingly, BT did attempt to prosecute Chris Buckley. The details were reported in The Register here, here, here and here.

However, the case did not come to court, having "trundled on" making Chris's life a misery for a couple of years and alienating a goodly number of previously loyal BTinternetters in the process.