Sayers cops court fine, but was the right man in the dock?

Alto Luz Photography

At Newcastle Magistrates Court, on the morning of Wednesday 5 October, reformed gangland figure-come-author, Stephen Sayers, 51, was fined a combined total of £480 after rival, Paddy Conroy placed him there due to ‘sending abusive Facebook messages that were grossly offensive and of an obscene nature.’


On the morning of the trial being heard, in front of Dr Victoria Awotana, John Nergaard and Anthony Dodds, Sayers, who was well supported by close friends and family, made a change of plea to guilty, which was relayed by his defence, Andrew Rutter; prosecuting on behalf of Conroy was Brain Payne.


As the proceedings opened the charges against Mr Sayers were changed from plural to singular, in effect meaning that any sentence brought forth would be because of ONE solitary Facebook message, or in this case a post, which Conroy deemed derogatory.


Mr Payne began by outlining the history between the Sayers and Conroy families which goes back a generation or more, stating that there have been: “long running and bitter disputes played out on numerous platforms, and done over a number of years, now being played out on Facebook.”


The main focus though was solely on that one message which Sayers was purported to have posted on social media on February 17 2016 saying that “For over 20 years we have had to listen to the rambling slander of Paddy ‘the jealous grass’ Conroy.


“This man was arrested for thousands of hard core graphic images of child pornography on his personal computer over the space of two years. When arrested he blamed his innocent son for the hard core child porn – give a like if Paddy ‘the jealous grass/paedophile’ Conroy is the most hated paedophile in Newcastle.


“Remember though, you wouldn’t like it if it was your children he was masturbating over on the computer #GetThePaedophilesOffFacebook”


(see photo for original message/post by Sayers)


It was stated that this post alone warranted over 5k likes; the prosecution then went on to discuss the use of derogatory terms within the criminal fraternity and what ‘beast,’ ‘nonce’ and the like amount to.


Having then declared that: “To the best of knowledge Paddy Conroy has not been arrested for any offence,” in relation to Sayers’ social media accusation (see footnote below) the prosecution then told the Magistrates Chair that: “We are dealing with this one single message,” and that any past issues or wrongdoings between the warring families should be set aside.


“Stephen Sayers has taken the sensible opportunity to plead guilty and I applaud him for that but we must apply (to the court) for costs.


“Stephen Sayers acknowledged at an early stage that he had sent the message.”


Following the prosecution, Stephen’s defence, Andrew Rutter responded by saying that: “Stephen Sayers accepted that he sent the message and believed the content true.


“The information came from a reputable source and he’s accepted that it would have been deemed as being offensive. Although the (guilty) plea is late it is worthy of credit.


“He (Stephen) had no reason to believe it wasn’t true and (therefore) not wholly unfounded.


“(Paddy) Conroy has claimed on EIGHT occasions that he is the source of the information and recently took a lie detector test (in his statement). It’s therefore rather hypocritical of Paddy Conroy to make a complaint to the police and has blamed others with often damaging accusations.


Conroy went on record on August 12 saying: “I’m not in the slightest bit bothered about the crap wrote about me.”


However, as this was a unique case, said to be the one and only offence of this type and only three of a similar nature via research.


Andrew Rutter concluded by saying: “This is perhaps best put to bed, if not then I submit to the bench that a fine would be appropriate.”


With the charge from the outset having been changed from plural to a singular one the following charges were brought forward by Dr Victoria Awotana – Fine £110, Victim Surcharge £20, Costs £350 – A total of £480.


She said: “You have today, pleaded guilty to a single offence – we have listened carefully to both parties and not the background, however, you are being charged for this one offence.


“Sentencing will be in the first band (A-C) and you will be fined in Band B).”


Afterwards Stephen Sayers said of the outcome: “Today I have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.


“I received a fine and was released. The facts of the case were all read out. Paddy Conroy admitted on his own Facebook page that he downloaded child porn on 16 occasions on his computer.


“I personally think this is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Let’s concentrate on the facts, he has grassed me up and had me arrested and had me in court and he has admitted to downloading child porn; yet he still slags me off.


“The offer for the charity fight still remains.”


Friends of Stephen Sayers, have, as of the evening of October 5, set up a Just Giving Page to help pay his fine from the Magistrates – once the costs have been met any over that will be donated to local charities

Alto Luz Photography

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