The 24-year-old U.K. man had his 18 month sentence reduced by the Court of Appeal that enabled him to immediately go free. The judges accepted he did not mean to send a sexually explicit message to the young teens.
Craig Evans, a swimming coach, was sentenced to 18 months in jail on July 27. He had previously been found guilty of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. But on appeal, the court accepted he had hit the wrong button on his BlackBerry smartphone.
Evans had decided to send a sexually explicit message to his girlfriend. The Telegraph reports the text included "Would you f**k me? Fast or Slow?" The message also mentioned "skin on skin."
But Evans made a boo boo. Instead of sending the message to the intended adult recipient, he hit the wrong button on his BlackBerry and the message went out to everyone on his contact list. It was bad enough members of his family received the message. Embarrassing but not illegal. But two of the people on his contact list were were young girls, aged 13 and 14. Sending them the message led to Evans' arrest, conviction and sentence on sexual charges.
Evans appealed to the Court of Appeal in London and the case was heard this week. The three member panel of the court allowed his appeal and lowered the sentence to nine months.
Lord Justice Elias was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying the facts of the case were unusual because the message was sent to everyone on his contact list including members of his own family. The justice said, "The fact that they were repeated shows he was evidently misguided in the use of his BlackBerry. It is difficult to conclude that he was targeting anyone."
The court reduced the sentence from 18 months to nine months. Justice Elias is quoted in The Telegraph as saying, "We have concluded that, given the unusual circumstances, this is a case in which, although the custody threshold was passed, it would be appropriate for the sentence to be suspended."
Suspending the sentence allowed Evans to be immediately freed.