back to article Four months' porridge for 20-minute Facebook riot page

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to four months in jail for a brief riot-supporting post on Facebook. David Glyn Jones, Bangor, posted "Let's start Bangor riots", then removed it 20 minutes later. But the post was seen by a woman who used to work with Jones and she reported it to the police, the Beeb reports. His …

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  1. Mike Richards Silver badge

    I'm pretty sure Bangor is fireproof

    Several hundred years of continuous Welsh drizzle has rendered the place entirely fireproof.

    1. RichyS
      Coat

      And more importantly

      If the place was smashed up, would anyone notice?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Or give a toss...

        Really?

        1. Arclight
          Mushroom

          Two nights of rioting............

          looting and smashing up the place would have caused an estimated £200k of improvents.

  2. AnonRB
    Facepalm

    Make an example!

    Although I agree with some of the reasons behind the rioting I do think these kids deserve the "book" beeing thrown at them. Our government is pathetic and the justice system just as much of a joke. Its good to see these kids being put in there place. We shouldnt accept this quite simple and sad acts of attention.

    p/s why should they get a free tv!

    :Expect us:

  3. theBatman
    WTF?

    Bad Joke?

    It's a person's real intent that I'm interested in, not what they've said on Facebook. It might be fair to argue that he had no intention of actually starting a riot and having made his joke thought better of it and took it down. Which was sensible. So now they're handing out prison sentences for bad jokes?

    If his words had consequences (like, an actual riot) I'd understand the sentence. It's way too easy to lose your freedom around here.

    1. Elron Hubward
      Coat

      Prison sentances for bad jokes??

      Damn! I'd best get me running shoes on; the rozzers will be here for me any minute and I'm probably looking at several consecutive life sentences for my interweb utterances over the years.

      Mine's the one with the little arrows on it.

    2. HP Cynic

      Yes but

      That may well apply to rioters but I don't see how any books can be thrown at comments made online which in no way contributed to non-riots in towns like Bangor and Norwich (to quote these examples).

      Punish those responsible, not those making jokes about it like practically everyone I know did.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surely they're only following the example..

      ...set by politicians and bankers? I didn't see any call for them to be made examples? Disproportionate sentences and fines? Or just give it back and get let off? Oh wait.. the rioters were poor weren't they.

      And to make sure the masses are kept in their place, lets give the government the power to shut down social networks whenever they like. Could come in handy if we ever need to "liberate" another foreign regime.

      In this democracy, who exactly is in charge?

    4. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      Yeah! Like an 'oliday camp, innit?

      Bring back the birch. Hangings too good for 'em. Get 'em scrubbing the gutters with a toothbrush!

      Harsher punishment for reactionary dickwarts who don't know the difference between "its" and "it's" or "there" and "their"!

      1. Stratman
        FAIL

        title

        Er, that should be hanging's, as in hanging is.

        Harsh and excessive punishment awaits you.............

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        RE: Yeah! Like an 'oliday camp, innit?

        Does that include the people that don't know when to use hangings or hanging's?

        1. Some Beggar

          re: hangings hanging's 'angings

          Quite right. I will hand myself in to the nearest Miniluv offices as soon as I've finished my cup of tea.

    5. Dropper
      Thumb Down

      Save me from idiots

      If someone posts something stupid and then removes it, no one acted on it and no harm was done.. exactly why should I contribute taxes to pay for that person to spend time behind bars? And although it may have escaped your notice, prison sentences often have consequences when that person looks for work...

      I don't have a problem throwing the book at people whose actions cause harmful consequences, like inciting a riot that actually takes place, but not when it costs me money to put someone in jail and consequently spends a life collecting unemployment because they were stupid children that wrote stupid things on a social networking website.

      There are degrees of stupidity - and putting people in prison for no reason other than we don't like them ranks very much towards the top. See the U.S.A for a country that cannot afford to pay its prison and welfare bills because they fill up their prisons with people who have no business being there. We don't need to adopt the same policy of looking for excuses to put people away, especially when there are more financially efficient ways for dealing with idiot children.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re: Bad Joke?

      "It's a person's real intent that I'm interested in, not what they've said on Facebook."

      Indeed. The Northwich clowns actually showed up, although they could have claimed to have merely been interested in who else might show up, then all just go for a Big Mac together, but when you have no evidence of actual intent, the days are surely counting down to Dave Cameron wanting to fine or imprison people who just clicked the "like" button.

      It then becomes a bit difficult for DaveCam to go off and lecture China and the like about human rights, having come pretty close to having introduced thought crimes to the statute books. But hey: the Westminster gravy train is still puffing away, and Dave can pretend it's all about the Dunkirk spirit, or something.

    7. laird cummings
      Mushroom

      An example, alright...

      Congratulations. Your frustration and anger has turned you into an American. The views you state are precisely why the US justice system has got to where it is - you're only 40 yerars behind us in getting fed up.

      Now.... Take a LOOK at the US Justice system, and decide if that's where you want to be. If so, then carry on smartly! If not, maybe you'd like to rethink your position a bit..?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Arnold Lieberman
    Thumb Up

    As the yoof would say

    PMSL!

    Not that he will come out of Gaol a better person, but he might think twice before encouraging others to ruin someone's life.

    1. schnide

      Public for long enough..

      ..to warrant *four months* in jail?!

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        WTF?

        lunacy

        I saw a police documentary the other night. A bloke had an argument with his girlfriend. Drove her round a city and deliberately crashed her into a metal barrier (in her car). It was a write off and she had a fractured foot and leg.

        He got a 9 month suspended sentence.

        Are you seriously saying that this 20 min one line facebook joker kid is more dangerous?

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      FAIL

      the fact the post was up for twenty minutes

      before he took it down indicates he's already had second thoughts.

      However, the fact you think this is funny says a lot about your attitude to other people. It's tempting to draw comparisons between your lack of concern for others and the behaviour of the actual property smashing rioters.

  6. dotdavid
    FAIL

    OTT

    For a tasteless one-liner am I the only one who thinks this is a little excessive?

    A caution, fine. Maybe even a fine. But four months in prison?

    I always assumed this sort of law was to stop people who actually, well, incited this sort of behaviour - and I can't see the words "Let's start Bangor riots" posted to a private social network for 20 minutes as being a particularly effective incitement.

    1. Steve Knox
      Coffee/keyboard

      You got me...

      I thought you were serious -- until you called Facebook a "private social network".

      That's a good one.

  7. Colin Millar
    Thumb Down

    Read your own link

    It doesn't confirm any such thing. Where does it instruct MPS officers to keep everyone in custody?

    It says remand in custody should be applied for in every case and it is very careful in explaining the expedited system that is being used and the reasons for it.

    Of course - it is a photocopy, its source is unnamed, it has some redaction marks and it's about the police so according to the Graun's new wikicrap test for newsworthiness it must contain something scandalous.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Shame

    as looting and fires would have improved Bangor significantly

  9. KevinLewis
    WTF?

    I Predict A Riot...

    So does that mean that the title of the Kaiser Chiefs song should put them all in prison? Didn't they cause all this? They predicted it after all..

    Oh rubbish me too for putting that as a title? But I never said which country your honour...

    If his intent was to cause a riot, surely he would have kept the comment up there? This is plain simple craziness. Where the hell did common sense go?

    1. jake Silver badge

      @KevinLewis

      More to the point, I *DID* predict[1] the current situation in the UK. A year ago. From 6,000 miles away, in Sonoma California. If I can predict such a thing, surely anyone can?

      Why in the FUCK can't your elected officials see that they are completely out of touch with reality? The more we forget history ...

      [1]http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/839294

    2. NomNomNom

      ttile

      "So does that mean that the title of the Kaiser Chiefs song should put them all in prison?"

      I think the song itself should carry the larger sentence!

      (for any kaiser chief fans out there, I am not being serious and no offense intended, it is just a rather poor joke on my part! I am not really advocating they should be imprisoned its just a joke about music)

  10. Lupus
    Joke

    Ah well...

    I guess you could say he's been...

    ...

    Bangor'd to riots.

  11. schnide
    Meh

    As Armando Iannucci rightly said..

    ..so they've arrested a few more people surrounding the NOTW. I expect them to send them through the courts double quick with a heavy sentence to set an example..

    ..or, maybe not?

  12. RichyS

    Incitement

    The sentences do seem rather harsh, but (and this particularly applies to the Northwich character), a riot does not have to have actually taken place for the messages to count as incitement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      YEEEAAAAAAAHHH!!!

      <shades />

  13. Rob Telford

    Did anyone arrest John Betjamin

    for his ode to Slough?

  14. QuinnDexter
    Big Brother

    The title is "Required"

    "Facebook, Twitter and RIM have been called to meet the Home Secretary on Thursday to discuss issues around the disturbances and Cameron's apparent desire to get such networks switched off as he or subsequent Prime Ministers may order."

    My flabber has been ghasted.

    Pompus self serving cnuts. Who the fcuk do they think they are?! Do you think Egyptians are thankful that their leaders were not actually such a bunch of cnuts after all? Hopefully FB, Twitter and BBerry tell the Home Secretary and Cameron to get fcuked when they're asked to switch off in times designated as unwelcoming to Tory mantra and ethos. Cnuts.

    As one who contemplated trying to get the joke "#PleaseLootMeA" trending on Twitter I'm glad I didn't. This poor idiotic bloke's sentence for a stupid joke (which was probably meant as a stupid joke, rather than just a normal joke) is completely OTT. If it weren't for the other cases that are no doubt going through the paperwork at the minute then we could have a protest, but everyone is probably scared of having protests now due to the heavy handed sentencing, and there are probably going to be so many other cases that local protestors would be spread very thin...

  15. Alpha Tony

    Seems fair enough to me.

    Tough on Facebook, tough on the users of Facebook.

    Can we not fine Mark Zuckerberg for encouraging the riots by creating Facebook in the first place?

    Fine him a billion and use it to pay for the clean up.

  16. Oldgroaner
    Devil

    Daily Mail lapdogs

    Sentence a grotesque waste of public money --wholly inappropriate, judiciary clearly influenced by howls of gutter press. Note that those who made off with over 25 million in a boiler-house scam have just received some 5 years each -- 2.5 years with remission for several million £s -- where's the deterrent? Sorry, forgot, sentencing is by idiots.

  17. Christoph Silver badge
    WTF?

    How obvious does the joke need to be?

    What would they have done if he had suggesting starting riots in Minas Tirith?

    Do they really want a society where you have to watch every single word you say in case someone deliberately misinterprets it? Where you dare not make a joke about anything? Where you must be suspicious of everyone you know in case they turn you in to the police for a casual remark?

    Four months is a *ludicrous* over-reaction.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    idiots

    What they should have done, was charge the "woman who used to work with Jones" with wasting police time, then implement some compulsory retraining for police and judges along the lines of, "How to tell the difference between crimes and harmless jokes".

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Freedom of speech...

    ... if we say so.

    I'm not advocating the incitement of rioting, but really, this is borderline insanity.

    A clear line should be drawn - if by posting this, there's clear evidence that it *did* incite a riot, then fair play.

    If, in both cases here, nothing happened at all, why on earth give such ridiculous sentences, or any at all for that matter?

    So, some rather silly fool, in a drunken moment, decided to post "lets riot" - and you give the poor bastard 4 years and ruin his life?

    The facts need to be examined. As I said above, if it's been seen to cause a riot, or perhaps if the person who posted it has a history of violence and criminality, there's a case.

    If neither are true, there's NO case - it's just freedom of speech!

    Knee jerk reactions demonstrating we in no way live in a real democracy and that clearly, we don't have full freedom of speech.

    I suspect, however, that once this dies down, these *silly* people will successfully appeal - right now, the Gov have to appear to be tough - bless their penny pilfering social grant cutting banker hugging little mitts.

  20. NomNomNom
    Facepalm

    deport him

    God he'll be out in just 4 years, probably a lot less as criminals tend to get let out early. The prison sentences are a joke in this country. I don't even see any mention of whether he'll be banned from using facebook after that. What if he is released after his short sentence and does it again and this time it actually causes a riot? Remember he'll have 4 whole years max to come up with the precise wording for his next "facebook event", some very dangerous phrasing could be constructed by an individual with four years to think about nothing else. These idiots need to be deported fullstop so they can't commit these crimes again on our shores.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    What suprises me is...

    The speed at which these internet mouthblowers were rounded up, processed and convicted for what was basically juvenille flippancy yet hate preachers of differing denominations are free to spout their beliefs, make real threats and incite others to act on those threats with apparent immunity.

  22. Stratman

    title

    Posting encouragements to riot on a night when people are losing their employment, their home and even their life because of rioting is inexcusable. I put it on a par with replying, "Only a bomb" when airport security staff ask what's in your luggage.

    Jail time is an excessive response though. Much better to sentence them to a long period of Community Service or whatever it's called these days. That way they'll see the real consequences of their ill advised pranks.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      He isn't encouraging

      it's a bloody joke, he took it off after 20 mins so he definitely wasn't being serious. this world's full of idiots, i feel as if I'm living in south park. if anyone wants me, I'll be on mars...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Idiots

        He was being an idiot. Sadly these days there is little sense of personal responsibility and people are too willing to apologise for the behaviour of others even without the whole facts, which you won't get without being there.

        Reminds me of Uni in the early 80s when a few of the guys I went around with would get trashed then do what the hell they liked. When anyone tried to take them to task the next day they'd just blame it on the beer.

        Yes, its probably excessive, but if you don't uphold a certain level of personal responsibility then you almost have to be excessive to get people to take notice.

    2. NomNomNom

      no

      what if you have a chocolate bomb in your luggage?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Meeting with Facebook, twitter et al

    It wasn't that long ago that the British Government were trawling the world asking oppressive regimes not to close down or suppress social networks and be more open like Britain.

    If the law is passed to allow this then at first it may be in extreme situations when massive criminality is being organised, but how long before the powers are used for normal protests, or anti-governmental policy rallies (when "we felt the threat of violence was high so we took the precaution of...blah blah").

    Wouldn't happen? Like the anti-terrorism laws weren't used to arrest protesters at an arms fair arriving by coach, or to stop photographers taking pictures of buildings in the street?

    Can you imagine for the 4 days of riots there was a social media blackout and the 99.99% of the innocent population were informed that they could only get information about the situation from the mainstream media and no longer could you discuss it with worried friends via Facebook or get updates from affected regions via twitter or use their Blackberry Messenger service legitimately as the Government had shut it down and were to reopen it in a couple of weeks after they were sure it had all calmed down?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    erm...

    The problem is that with a comment like that while the event is taking place, there is no clear line between intent and a joke. It certainly wasn't a joke to anyone living or with a business close to any of the affected areas, myself included. On a public forum, its a loose equivalent of shouting "bomb" in an airport.

    Its clearly registered as intent with one person and I'd imagine the police can't ignore the report so may have started to respond. Theoretically, the authorities could have turned up at one place for something to happen elsewhere undermining their response and ultimately public safety.

    As for the harshness of the sentence, I can't comment. I can only hope it dissuades people from doing idiotic things like this in the future.

  25. Steen Hive
    WTF?

    Some pompous, populist Tory prat

    called "Darren Millar" Is already complaining that the sentence was "too lenient".

    Can these fuckwits please shut up and reserve prison sentences for people who do actual harm. Like thieving politicians, for example.

  26. James 75

    UK gone bonkers

    "I put it on a par with replying "Only a bomb" when airport security staff ask what's in your luggage."

    Pretty much exactly where I'd put it too, and possibly enough to get a bit of a talking to, nothing more. The world has gone mad IMO. It's a bad joke at a bad time. I bet there are 100 comedians up and down the country who've made worse jokes on the riots.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works for me

    He who incites a riot belongs in prison.

  28. CmdrX3
    Big Brother

    A little extreme I think

    I think some peoples emotions over the riots may be clouding their judgement somewhat. While I have no sympathy for the guy that actually attempted to get a riot going, and actually turned up to proceed on one, I the case in this article is a bit OTT

    "Facebook, Twitter and RIM have been called to meet the Home Secretary on Thursday to discuss issues around the disturbances and Cameron's apparent desire to get such networks switched off as he or subsequent Prime Ministers may order."

    This is a bit of a slippery slope, and not one I think I would want to be letting our politicians go down.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Inconsistency is the mother of parliaments

    It's a pity that all the "honorable" members of parliament who were caught fiddling their expenses were not brought before these judges who are imposing prison sentences on these kids. If they were, they shouldn't have been able to wriggle out of prison sentences that should have been, in proportion, about 20 years each. No doubt some of those jailed rioters said sorry and offered to hand the stolen stuff back, which should also have meant many MPs could not have used that get-out either.

    Of course, it would never happen, even if we could arrange the MPs to be tried by the same judges. Thus, we can see why people say the establishment in the UK is corrupt and rotten to the core.

  30. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  31. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Hidden Agenda?

    Is it not possible that the "clampdown" on social media post riots is actually nothing to do with the riots, other than using it as a fine excuse to advance a political agenda?

    We've heard Cameron & cronies spout loudly on the subjects of "controlling social media" and "not letting SILLY human rights get in the way of JUSTICE.".

    I see social engineering going on here and it bespeaks an agenda of control, or, at the very least, a fine and dandy excuse for continuing with the IMP program at GCHQ.

    Again, our freedoms are being chipped away at and the populist voice of the nation is backing it with tacit agreement as they express their knee-jerk reactions.

  32. Malcolm 2
    Unhappy

    Something's wrong here

    When someone making a stupid post on Facebook gets 4 moths in jail whereas drunk drivers that cause accidents which result in injury to people and damage to property get a paltry fine, a driving ban and maybe, if she/he is unlucky, a suspended sentance.

  33. Eden

    Seriously?

    Wow well on my history I posted at one point that I had a really *shit* day at work, lets go looting.

    This was a joke based on my previous dozen posts were about how angry I was about the looters actions and how they felt entitled and right to do this for the dumbest of reasons.

    Should I go spend 4 months in jail, loose my job my home and destroy my familly as sole bread winner for a bad joke? ffs perspective people.....

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