Not even an anonymous account, dozens of e-mail addresses, or the excuse that he was not the person who wrote hateful comments worked.
Last week, the Specialised Criminal Court sentenced 41-year-old Ján L. from Poprad, eastern Slovakia, who had been writing hateful comments full of threats and profanity for months. In the comment section of the daily Sme he used the handle "Incinerator of Jews - SJWSs - Liberals".
The comments started appearing only a few weeks after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
The man was sentenced to five years of probation. This is the longest possible sentence the court can apply. If the convicted man violates the conditions, he would be sent behind bars for two years.
"This is the last warning for the defendant, so that his behaviour during the probationary period gives no reason to change the sentence," declared judge Ján Buvala.
Ján L. tried to excuse himself by saying that someone else sat down in front of his computer. However, an expert opinion proved that all the comments were created on the man's computer, tablet and mobile phone.
"That would have to be a long party so that a different person had access to these devices for four months," the judge said, noting that the defendant did not provide any other alternative explanation, calling the excuse uncreative and even infantile.
When reading the verdict, he added that in 40 years of practice, he had never experienced anything reaching this level of aggressiveness or vulgarity.
Nothing would stop him
The man also made dangerous threats, most targeting daily Sme editor-in-chief Beata Balogová, though some mentioned other journalists. His hatred also targeted entire editorial offices.
Even though comment section admins repeatedly deleted his comments and blocked his accounts, Ján L. was not deterred. He would create a new account with the same nickname, to which he just added a different number.
In total, he used 150 different e-mail addresses, which he set up with a foreign e-mail service provider. Almost all these addresses started with the term "smeckaripatriadopece", which means "Sme reporters belong in the incinerator".