A MAN who sent threatening Twitter messages to SNP MP Joanna Cherry has been ordered not to contact her for five years.

Grant Karte, 30, has also been given a community payback order, supervised for 15 months, with 160 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Cherry contacted police over a threat on February 1, the day she was dropped from her party's front bench team at Westminster in a reshuffle.

The Edinburgh South West MP, had been the SNP justice and home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster until the reshuffle in February.

Karte, 30, previously admitted sending Twitter messages on February 1 that were "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" in that he repeatedly threatened Cherry contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

Sentencing Karte at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday, Sheriff Alistair Noble said:

"You pled guilty to a serious charge, a charge involving threatening a member of parliament.

"Your threat carried implications of violence and one interpretation of what was said was sexual violence."

Sheriff Noble said he took the view that it was not necessary to impose a period of custody and imposed a community payback order instead, but warned Karte that if he breaches the order he will have to return to court.

Responding to Karte's sentencing Cherry wrote on Twitter today that his messages had "caused her considerable fear, upset and alarm".

She said she had been sacked from the SNP frontbench at Westminster after being "wrongly accused of transphobia".

She added: "I am very disappointed that no one in the SNP hierarchy has acknowledged or condemned Grant Karte’s threats towards me despite his criminal conviction.

"His name was removed from the roll of party members after his offence was publicised, so I can only assume that his behaviour has been recognised as reprehensible, yet no one has said so publicly on behalf of the SNP and I have not received the same support as other women who have suffered abuse, often a good deal less serious and falling short of criminality."



Sheriff Noble also imposed a five-year non-harassment order on Karte which bars him from contacting Cherry from July 30.

Defence agent Simon Collins, representing Karte, said a psychiatric report prepared ahead of the sentencing was positive and "reflects on his regret and remorse regarding the incident."

A SNP spokeswoman said: "This is a welcome conviction for totally unacceptable behaviour. We fully recognise the personal impact that comes from such abusive behaviour, and support services are available to all elected representatives and staff.

"Joanna was offered support from senior levels of the SNP at the time and that offer remains open. We hope that the conclusion of this case will bring her some relief.”