Lancashire

Accrington Sledden brothers jailed over judge posts

Burnley Crown Court Image copyright Geograph/Robert Wade
Image caption The Sledden brothers posted comments online shortly after walking free from Burnley Crown Court

Two drug dealers who posted sexually offensive comments about a judge after she gave them suspended jail terms have been remanded in custody.

Brothers Daniel and Samuel Sledden mocked Judge Beverley Lunt on Facebook after admitting drug dealing charges.

Daniel, 27, posted within 90 minutes of leaving Burnley Crown Court, while Samuel, 22, made offensive remarks 40 minutes after he left the dock.

Judge Lunt remanded them in custody and ordered a review of their sentences.

Both men admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

'Offensive sexual elements'

Both defendants, from Accrington, were initially given two-year jail sentences, suspended for two years.

Daniel Sledden used obscene language in a message he posted online and said he could not believe his luck at getting a suspended sentence.

It "beats the three year jail, yes pal", he wrote.

His brother also used profanity when celebrating: "What a day it's been Burnley Crown Court..nice two year suspended".

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Daniel Sledden has since issued an apology on Facebook and said he did not mean it

However, after the pair were recalled to court, Daniel Sledden posted a follow-up message on Facebook apologising to the judge for his "thoughtless post".

Judge Lunt told the court she did not want to read the messages out which contained "offensive sexual elements".

She said remorse and contrition was "a vital component" when considering sentence but said the length of the jail terms was not wrong.

However, she said, the brothers' conduct after the sentencing had caused her to question whether an immediate custodial sentence should have been imposed.

"It is the issue of suspension. Would I have done so had I appreciated, as I do now, their true views and what they really thought of the court proceedings?" she said.

The Sleddens and their father, William, 45, who also received a suspended jail sentence, had all admitted dealing cannabis from the family home in Hopwood Street between May and September 2014.

At the earlier sentencing hearing, Judge Lunt said she had been partly persuaded not to send the three family members to prison because there had been no criminal wrongdoing since.

The court heard the brothers had written letters of apology to the judge as the review was postponed until 26 February. The pair were remanded in custody.

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