Rupert Murdoch Pieman Gets Six Weeks Jail
"I have to take account of the fear that you caused in that room," judge tells Jonathan May-Bowles, who attacked the News Corp CEO at a House of Commons special hearing.
LONDON - Rupert Murdoch's pie-thrower was jailed for six weeks by the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, Tuesday, despite the fact that the News Corp CEO and Chairman had not wanted to press charges.
Jonathan May-Bowles, the 26-year old "anarchic comedian" had received a slap and his own pie in his face courtesy of Wendi Deng Murdoch after he tried to pie the News Corp boss at the House of Commons on July 19.
After pleading guilty to charges of assault last week, he was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling $900 at the sentencing hearing.
The case was brought by the Crime Prosecution Service, the British equivalent of the District Attorney's office.
District Judge Daphne Wickhamtold May-Bowles that Rupert Murdoch's appearance before the committee had been "of huge importance to a number of people deeply affected by the conduct of employees at his organisation," and that his own intervention had contravened the "dignity and civilized approach" of the proceedings.
"No-one save you could have known what that foam was. I have to take into account the fear that you caused in that room."
Lawyers for May-Bowles said the attack had been in the spirit of public protest and had not intended physical harm to the 80-year old News Corp boss.
"Slapstick and throwing pies dates back to the 1900s as a recognized form of protest," said defence lawyer Tim Greaves.
"He [May-Bowles] intended to express how he was feeling and how he believed the British public were feeling and he sought to do that in the least harmful way he could."
Greaves also said that May-Bowles would appeal the prison sentence.
Earlier, the court heard that May-Bowles had smuggled the foam pie into the House of Commons inside an old shirt, which he had later discarded.
As the tense evidence session in which Rupert and James Murdoch answered questions on phone-hacking - in a hearing carried live by news networks around the world - May-Bowles stunned committee members, Murdoch's bodyguard and onlooking police men by getting alongside Rupert Murdoch and hitting him with the shaving foam pie.
Wendi Deng Murdoch, seated behind her husband, saw the attack attempt unfold and launched herself across two people to slap May-Bowles on the head and then hit him with his own pie.