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LONDON – It would probably have been the most humble six weeks of his life, but Rupert Murdoch’s pie-thrower will now face a reduced sentence of only four weeks jail time for assaulting the 80-year old mogul, after a court cut his sentence Friday.
Jonathan May-Bowles, who was spectacularly slam-dunked by Wendi Deng Murdoch after he threw a foam pie at the News Corp CEO at the House of Commons last month, failed in his attempt to have a custodial sentence overturned.
He had made no attempt to resist arrest after the pie-throwing incident and had appeared to mock Rupert Murdoch, telling reporters as he entered the courtroom last month: “this is the most humble day of my life.”
His words echoed the phrase the News Corp CEO used to express his contrition over the damage done by the News of The World’s extensive campaign of phone-hacking when he appeared before the committee of MPS July 19.
After pleading guilty to charges of assault last weeh, May-Bowles was ordered to pay a fine and costs totalling $900 at the sentencing hearing and said he would appeal the six-week sentence.
The judge told him that she had imposed the custodial sentence – even though that it was a harsher than usual punishment – because of the fear he had caused.
“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,” District Judge Daphne Wickham said last week.
Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch had been officially summoned to the House of Commons to give evidence in the phone-hacking hearings in a tense evidence session that was dramatically interrupted by the attack.
Lawyers for May-Bowles had argued at the appeal that 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 his 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.”
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