Murdoch Pie Thrower’s Jail Sentence Reduced

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 3:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A British judge has cut the sentence of an activist who threw a shaving cream pie at Rupert Murdoch, as the media tycoon testified to British lawmakers last month on a phone-hacking scandal that rocked the country.

A judge on Friday rejected an attempt by Jonathan May-Bowles to overturn his six-week jail sentence, handed down earlier this week, but reduced it to four weeks.

May-Bowles, a comedian known as Jonnie Marbles, admitted to the July 19 attack, but tried to excuse it as being in the comedic tradition of Monty Python and Laurel & Hardy. His attorney argued that the term was “excessive” and that sentencing guidelines had not been followed.

The judge, however, denied the argument, saying the pie in Murdoch's face was not funny in this situation, caused fear and disrupted testimony important to a lot of people.

But he also ruled that the sentencing judge did not give May-Bowles enough credit for pleading guilty, and reduced his sentence to four weeks.

Police in Britain have arrested 11 people in connection with the phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at the now-defunct British tabloid newspaper News of the World, owned by Murdoch's News Corporation.

They include former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, who went on to head communications for Prime Minister David Cameron before resigning in January.

News of the World shut down last month after allegations that journalists illegally accessed the cellphone voicemails of hundreds of celebrities, politicians, rival journalists and even murder victims. Employees of the newspaper also are suspected of bribing police for information.