Two men have been banged up for four years apiece, after unsuccessfully inciting violent disorder on Facebook. Jordan Blackshaw, 20, of Vale Road in Marston near Northwich and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Richmond Avenue, Warrington, were handed the harsh sentences at Chester Crown Court yesterday. "If we cast our minds back …
Bye bye freedom of speech. It was nice knowing you.
How can expressing ones opinion be a crime? No matter if the opinion is absurd, horrible, pro- or anti-terrorism?
Well, europe is working hard on borrowing itself back to the dark ages, but maybe south america and africa can become the last outposts of the free when EU becomes a new soviet?
Let's hope so.
The opinion seems to be this:
"I'm of the opinion that we need a riot here, I'm going out to start one, who's going to join me"
AC is a Merkin?
We don't do freedom of speech the same over here chum. Here are a list of things which are criminal speech in the UK (ie, illegal to express), which override the concept of free speech:
Incitement to riot
Incitement to racial hatred
Incitement to religious hatred
Incitement to terrorism
Dissemination of terrorist publications
Threatening, abusive or insulting speech or behaviour
Treason, including imaging the death of the monarch*
Indecency or corruption of public morals/outraging public decency
Prior restraint of the material
Scandalizing the court (eg criticizing a judge)
These cretins attempted to incite a riot. The sentences should be increased from normal, since the country itself was in an aggravated state due to prior rioting.
As to 'ruining these boy's lives', these are two people who on hearing about the riots, thought "I know, lets smash up and steal stuff from my local town" - they've ruined their own lives.
* We may be able to get Big Ears convicted on this one
@"We don't do freedom of speech the same over here chum."
No, we don't, for instance you could have added the Extreme Porn Law that the last Government brought in too.
But that's not to say that these are good or sensible laws...
They should have got life
for presumably starting such a group from their own account, gross stupidty. Haven't they heard of a false identity?
Let's hope this doesn't set the sentencing precedent the next time someone tweets about blowing Nottingham airport sky high!
... I share the sentiments expressed by Super Tim (top), I can't help thinking that a few months hard graft doing some worthy community service would have been a more constructive approach.
Also, in relation to this recent thuggery, I find myself frequently thinking that it is also possible to gather a large, coordinated, crowd of "yoof" together and have them, willingly, do something good. But then such activity would hardly make the headlines I suppose.
There are many, many, more kind, considerate and positive young people in our society, from all backgrounds, whom we should be making more of a noise about methinks. Let them come forth and be counted, and showered with techno-bling in reward for services given to their communities. Then see if the thuggish crowd wains somewhat.
Apply the positive spin to this, rather than focusing on and giving "air-time" to the pond-life that want their rule. Just a thought.
I am not against a bit of hard graft for these scumbags. I am merely happy that these two got caught before any bad things could happen.
I am aware that not all people are bad. I personally think that rioters and looters should get very long sentences. That includes incitement.
"The court hoped that the hefty sentences would deter others from writing similar stupid posts on social networks."
We're arresting people for making stupid comments on the internet now? Looks like the police are going to be on overtime with all the trolls.......what the hell........I DIDN'T POST THAT, SOMEONE HACKED MY ACCOUNT! DON'T TASE ME BR <kzzzzzt>
The Court of Appeal
Is going to be getting busy.
But the reduction of 4 years to 2 years suspended and 100 hours community service will not be as vocally covered by the press, and will be some months after the frenzy has died down.
So message sent to idiots, nothing more to see here and everybody ends up happy
Absolute fucking joke.
Yes, these two were twats of the highest order and, no, I don't feel sorry for them.
But, it seems like these two may have received the longest sentences so far -- and they didn't actually do anything!
What kind of a fucking joke of a country is it where you can take possession of a stolen telly and get six months, but do fuck all and get four years?
As has been mentioned above -- all this jail time will do is create two unemployable, angry, more criminally savvy young men. Let's hope they only steal from judges and politicians when they get out -- because I'd be very surprised if they don't start stealing from someone.
Well they did do something
They incited serious crimes and at least one of them turned up for the riot he was inciting. It may well be no one bothered to join them but that isn't an excuse under the law.
They attempted to incite serious crimes. In reality they did absolutely nothing.
I'm not actually disputing that they broke the law, or that they should be punished, just that they should receive such long jail terms for actually doing nothing.
DrXym hit the nail on the head "They incited serious crimes and AT LEAST ONE OF THEM turned up for the riot he was inciting."
In a nutshell, it's the tarring everybody with the same brush element of things that encapsulates my concern at our sentencing policy. If one of them posted a time and place and turned up in the expectation there would be violence, and the other posted something stupid for a laugh, then had seconds thought and took it down and didn't follow it through, why have they both got exactly the same sentence?
Or the guy who stole a bottle of water. If 5 minutes earlier he'd been throwing bricks through car windows and burglary is all they had photographic evidence of then fair enough, 6 months is the minimum he deserves. But if he was just a more or less innocent bystander, who happened to pass an open shop front after the rioters had left, reached in a grabbed a bottle of water, then it isn't obvious why he should be punished worse than a shoplifter just because other people that night happened to be rioting.
The law doesn't make that distinction
It doesn't matter if nobody acted on their incitement, it's still incitement according to the law. Read the serious crimes act (link in article) section 44 & 46 which they were charged with. In particular 46.1.a "[someone] does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of one or more of a number of offences".
Setting up a facebook page to organise a riot at a time that other riots are occurring seems pretty clear cut case of incitement. I expect if other riots hadn't been going on that their sentences would have been more lenient, but hey ho I don't really have much sympathy for them.
"doing nothing" and achieving nothing
aren't the same thing. By "doing nothing" I take it you mean "hasn't caused actual harm"
It's like saying that a dangerous driver, drunk, speeding or otherwise; isn't "doing anything" until they smash into something.
Or a person firing a gun into the air isn't "doing anything" until they hit someone.
It ain't your legal prerogative "human right" to do stuff which demonstrably endangers other people.
Consistency is the key
They were said to be of "previous good character", so may not have had any record. I'm surprised they couldn't convince the court that the FB posting was meant in jest and pleaded guilty. Most of these rioters seem to have trouble finding half-decent lawyers.
I'm quite happy with many of the sentences being handed out to the rioters but
(a) 4 years does seem very excessive in this case
(b) Sentences in a non-riot situation (including those for "middle class" crimes like dangerous driving) need to be brought up to the same sort of level if this isn't going to be seen as a knee-jerk, punish the chavs measure. If prison is too expensive to house everyone, make it cheaper and get rid of some of the home comforts!
£150 a day STAFF costs
You can't cut that very much, especially if you are locking up most of the population under 25.
Its all got mad.
£150 a day staff costs.
We could reintroduce caning. It's apparently still used in Singapore where it's an effective (and cheap) deterrent to crime which hurts the criminal more than the community for imposing the punishment.
/Watches liberals have a fit.
Inciting is the most serious crime
I bet the min and max sentence for inciting a riot is far mor than stealing chewing gum or jeans.
Even smashing findows and setting cars on fire is probly less.
hence the tougher sentence
They cant catch the real rioters only charge them with specfics, like badmouthing a copper.
and also they can only catch the ones too stupid to cover their faces.
0 years would be too long
As the state wants to intimidate rather than be just
one year for using social networking
one year for having an Apple product ( itwat )
one year for not knowing someone from the "old school"
one year for being young
How dare you type stuff into a computer people!
I thought this government may have been a bit more with it than the last when it came to the internet / law / censorship and the like, but it seems as if the same old drums are being banged.
Long sentences do not deter impulsive crimes because no one believes they are going to be caught ( or know how long the sentence will be before hand). It is about intimidation. I wonder how this will be used against peaceful demonstrators in the future?
You want to compare rioting and looting to peaceful demonstartion?
No just to breaking the law as does happen in peaceful demonstrations.
I'd expect a proportional response - inciting rioting should get a harsher sentence than a "victimless" crime at a peaceful demonstration.
Incitement to riot has nothing to do with a peaceful demonstration.
social media to coordinate demonstrations
But using social media to coordinate demonstrations has.
One would hope so, but there has been a worrying trend in using anti terrorist laws against to hinder gatherings for peaceful protest in recent years. The police have used this in the past to stop people getting to protests under New Labour, bit ironic as it will be more likely used against the union marches ( not that I am a union fanboy)
Deary me - the question really shouldn't be whether this is fair compared to other penalties that have been applied in the judicial history of the UK, but whether it's actually effective in the aim of detering crime and stopping re-offending.
Personally, I'm comfortable with this verdict in its glorious isolation, given the likely discounts that will apply. I'm not totally certain that it will stop re-offending, but it might have a reasonable deterrent effect. I think that if you aim to start a riot - regardless of success - then you need to take full responsibility for the event you have declared you want to take responsibility for, and all its negative effects.
The correct way to punish looters
The looters in general have cost the nation hundreds of millions of pounds at the least. It seems to me that there should be some way for them to bring money back into the economy. I suggest that as a community service type sentence they should have to run the nationalised banks free of charge.
They are vile looting scum who went out with no moral sense to destroy, steal and burn everything they could so they're a lot better than the people running the banks at the moment and think of the savings on bonuses!
Bored of hearing about how "it's not fair 'cuz they got 4 years and the MPs got nuffin". It's easy to argue that the facebookers should have had no sentence on this basis, when in reality both these idiots AND the law-breaking MPs (also idiots - subtle distinction) should receive sentencing.
Yes it's corrupt, but if you stop throwing criminals in jail because white-collar crime slips through the net then things will be a hell of a lot worse.
All or nothing? No. All, or some, but NEVER nothing.
MP's have been jailed, and a number of others are working through the criminal justice system at the moment.
Deterrence is the point
You can't deter determined people but you can deter the cowards who run in the shadows of others.
With the courts saying - I don't care if you're a first time offender - you are going to prison if you do this stuff - maybe the cowards will think a bit before they become they become hangers on to riots.
And as most of the rioters probably fell into the cowards category maybe some deterrence leaves the hard-core a bit tto exposed for their own liking.
Maybe the problem is
that we don't having any punishment other than prison that has any teeth. Someone who is sufficiently criminal and fundamentally ignorant enough to incite a riot needs to be punished. No amount of community service is, on its own, going to achieve the desired effect.
Mr JH embezzels £22K , says sorry, but only pays back half - sentence? None, not even arrested
Mr DC falsely claims £680 says sorry. Apparently, everyone was doing it and so we thought it was OK. Pays it back - sentence none, not even arrested.
The people embarrass the establishment, make the law look like the ass it is, then two pillocks _fail_ to incite a riot they get 4 years.
"They incited serious crimes and at least one of them turned up for the riot he was inciting. It may well be no one bothered to join them but that isn't an excuse under the law."
I thought no one apart from one of the convicted turned up, therefore there was no actual riot, or crime of riot (I think you need to have 3 or more people involved for it to be a riot). So how did they incite serious crime?
if I offer to pay someone
to murder "Anonymous Coward" but he doesn't do it, does that mean that I haven't doen anything wrong?
Anonymous Coward didn't die and I didn't hand over any cash, the result doesn't matter. The fact is they tried to get people to riot, in which more live could have been destroyed or even lost.
Thats the point here, the people who started the riots probably didn't set out with the thought of killing anyone but people died.
Yes what they were doing was assholish but 4 years, seriously? Rapists and muggers get much less than that (usually).
Further proof that facebook is mostly populated by nutters
There is - apparently (I don't have an account) - a group on Facebook called "Lesbians should be banned from using dildos, they made their choice".
If you attempt to murder someone but fail you still get done for attempted murder. Failure in your intention is no defence.
Didn't get done for attempted incitement.
You can attempt to incite people as much as your like, but if nobody is listening who are you supposed to be inciting, your just ranting to yourself out loud.
Still double standards going on.
There was clear intention.
The man on the Clapham omnibus should see what these people were planning to do. The fact that noone else joined in doesn't matter much from that perspective.
Turning up at the arranged meeting place really didn't help the case much.
Surprised no one has mentioned ..
OK that was merkin-land, but I would be interested in peoples opinions on the comparison ... after all no one *actually* got killed, so maybe she should have been let off ....
Keenan still has a presence on faceache:
Wonder what his status says?....
"Mob Hill Massive KNOB!'"
Best comment ever
the media fed us with the beauty of facebook and tweeter during the arab revolts. Now some idiots tried to do the same in UK and they end up in jail for a long long time, "Mubarak style" ?
Do they have proof that some people effectively followed their call for rioting ?
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