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UK Men Get 4 Years For Trying to Incite Riots Via Facebook

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-not-pass-go dept.

Cloud 400

An anonymous reader writes "In addition to the 12 arrests from last week, a judge has sentenced 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan to four years in prison for their failed attempts to use Facebook to incite riots in the UK. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent. The two men were convicted for using Facebook to encourage violent disorder in their hometowns in northwest England."

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Man, oh, man... (-1, Troll)

OhMyClean (2440160) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126512)

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Re:Man, oh, man... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126882)

I would post "man, someone's really begging to get his site DDoSed", but I guess I would face 4 years of jail time if I did.

Wow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126538)

Wow, so the trial took at least an entire day?

Re:Wow? (-1, Troll)

CleanThatOhYeah (2440328) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126560)

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Re:Wow? (5, Informative)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126860)

They pleaded guilty. That tends to short-cut proceedings a little (no fancy speeches to a jury, questioning of evidence etc)

Re:Wow? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126958)

Wow, so the trial took at least an entire day?

Well they plead guilty so what else is there to do?

Re:Wow? (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127052)

Aside from the fact that they pled guilty, what else do you expect? This is an open and shut case – they can trivially be tied to their Facebook accounts, the contents of the Facebook account can be established, and it can easily be established that 1) Facebook asks you not to give your login details to other people 2) that the post came from somewhere they commonly post from.

Why would they spend more than an hour or two on it, even if they didn't plead guilty?

It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite others (2, Informative)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126540)

Off with their... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126584)

...goolies [youtube.com] .
Still the best practical (albeit politically incorrect) response to hooligans.

Re:Off with their... (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126626)

I almost was going to vote for you, then I read your sig.

Re:Off with their... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126634)

I'd give you a +1 funny mod for that, but I'm the one you're replying to...

Re:Off with their... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126636)

Or just use the Chewbacca Defense.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126612)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (5, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126638)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

I'll use my right of free speech and call you a bloody idiot. This wasn't to "bring change in a corrupt system", this was about having a bit of fun destroying stuff, beating up people, and looting.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (3, Insightful)

morikahnx (1323841) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126808)

That's a lot of people just out to have fun. When you have massive riots in multiple cities, I'd be hard pressed to consider it just reckless lawlessness as entertainment. Look at Syria. How has those in charge characterized the rebellions? Lawless hooligans out to just cause trouble. No one believes it. But then you have riots at home and our precious security feels endangered.. doesn't sound so far-fetched anymore. How exactly would civil unrest against a perceived corrupt political system manifest? When anyone that shows any attempt at leadership is arrested, you wouldn't expect any type of organized demonstrations. You'd get a chaotic mess of angry people lashing out.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (4, Insightful)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126844)

Oh come on.

How exactly would civil unrest against a perceived corrupt political system manifest?

With a political message and marches in the streets, not blatant theft of consumer goods. To illustrate:

This is a political riot. [ibtimes.com]
This is people stealing things because they want to. [powwownow.co.uk]

The guys in this article started facebook pages called "Smash dwn in Northwich Town" (sic) and "The Warrington Riots". There is nothing political about what went on in the UK.

When you have massive riots in multiple cities, I'd be hard pressed to consider it just reckless lawlessness as entertainment.

Welcome to British youth culture.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (5, Informative)

Ed Black (973540) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127010)

"civil unrest against a perceived corrupt political system"

Nobody involved cared about that. Seriously - you had to be there, it really was people of various walks of life just grabbing everything out of shops then setting fire to them (then attacking firemen when they tried to rescue the families in the flats above), kicking people half to death, etc. - just going nutz to get stuff and get money and get away with settling scores against specific people or whatever community they disliked.

People being violently and/or sexually assaulted, robbed or even killed in the street. Not bankers, not politicians. Their own.

Not one bank or political institution was touched, only places with Cool Stuff in, and the cars/houses/persons of the working and/or poor people in their own communities.

"a chaotic mess of angry people lashing out"

A chaotic mess of rapturously smiling laughing people taking what they wanted and doing violence to people. Families having their homes torched and their lives endangered, swathes of jobs being ended by businesses being torched when nobody can afford insurance these days.

Killings of people who tried to help the victims, attacks against ambulances trying to treat the victims, attacks against firemen trying to put out fires.

Seriously, I don't know how to explain this convincingly enough without sounding emotive - this is in the place I've grown up in. Don't let people get away with saying it was a political demonstration - I mean you had to be there but seriously it REALLY. WASN'T., I would say what we all saw and endured had no protest component to it whatsoever past about 9pm on the first night - it was just open season for the cannibalistic predators of London to hurt/take from their own.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127076)

You'd get a chaotic mess of angry people lashing out.

From what I saw of the UK riots it was bunch of spoilt brats cheerfully participating in vandalism, looting, mugging, and arson.

How exactly would civil unrest against a perceived corrupt political system manifest?

An angry political protest in the UK looks like the coal miners strike, the anti-war protests, (or for really angry, the IRA attacks), they have prominent leaders, a clear political message, and their parents do not hand them over to the police.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126820)

One Man's "bring change in a corrupt system" Is Another Man's "a bit of fun". If You're Not Part Of The Solution, Then You're Part Of The Problem.

You Know It's True.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126850)

atleast that's what the system wants everyone to think.... when there are this many people hitting the streets there are bound to be a few idiots that can't behave themselves. Government who are the targets of these demonstrations like to fokus on these idiots because it makes them look less bad... Anyways, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya who's next? Syria or UK?

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (4, Informative)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127014)

OK pal, you must be snorting the cheap home made acid a bit too much, or you're simply speaking from the comfort of your mom's basement outsie of the UK. I can tell you that I am. Let me definitively tell you that these guys aren't political protestors. They are cheap hooligan thugs who enjoy a bit of the old smashy smashy and in and out.

Monday week ago I was caught between the looters and teh police in Lewisham while returning a car. I had rocks and bricks sailing past my head. Then on Tuesday, one of our neighbours decided to make a stand and stop these little pricks from taking his wheelie bin to transport their ill gotten goods by asking them politely not to do it. Their response? They stabbed him. He's in intensive care and may not live.

Last night, we had 3 thugs breaking in to the place next door to us. We called the police and they responded very quickly and arrested the 3 of them. This is the same kind of "protestor" that everyone is talking about. So you know what? NO. These ARE NOT protestors, they're opportunists. The BBC has given them ample opportunity to present a case, and none have been able to do so. The internet is not rife with reason, but rather rampant stupidity on the topic.

This is not society's fault, nor the fault of the police, or the government, but the fault of a generation of bottom feeding scum sucking opportunists that need a harsh lesson in reality dealt to them.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127092)

They are cheap hooligan thugs who enjoy a bit of the old smashy smashy and in and out.

Heh, nice tie to A Clockwork Orange – and yes, this really is exactly what it was... No political point being made, just a bunch of twats found an excuse for thieving, violence and arson.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (2)

Ed Black (973540) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127044)

This wasn't "people hitting the streets". I am the first person to support direct action and protest, but you really need to go and examine what has gone on before you exhort this - it sounds like these people had a political purpose.

Go, examine the offenses and what happened. I promise you, it was not politicians or political institutions being protested against or smashed, it was not banks, it was not the government, hell it mostly wasn't even the police.

I can tell you how it was, I saw it. It was mostly just shopping with violence instead of cash, lots of poor/working people in their OWN COMMUNITIES getting hurt in a weird sort of hedonistic holiday for violent bastards, where the weak were being feasted upon all over the place.

The geeks on this site who like to rail against global capitalism and so on, and who support political protest/direct action are the sort of people who were getting robbed, assaulted and burned out of their homes in a heartbeat in that environment. Prey of a mob of people who have realised they can get away with whatever the hell they like. No politics necessary.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (2, Insightful)

Ibag (101144) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126946)

In this particular case, it wasn't a call to fix or change the system, but that doesn't negate the point: it's important to clarify what limits we are willing to place on free speech and to understand the consequences of those limits. I agree that this instance seems reasonable, but I think it's important to have guidelines so that we don't have to consider everything on a case by case basis. A call to riot for the sake of destruction is a crime. A call to protest is not. But what about a call for civil disobedience, to ignore laws deemed unjust? You are still inciting people to break the law, but the character of the crime is much different. Of course, even in the US, where there is a codified right to free speech, there are definite limits. You aren't allowed to shout fire in a public building, and you aren't allowed to make credible threats against a person. But what makes a threat credible?

There are other examples which are even less clear. How should we handle the publishing a list of abortion doctors' addresses, with a vague call to arms? Is the call to arms just rhetoric, or is it a true incitement to violence? If we make the determination by the wording, people will just find euphemisms to use. With these facebook posts, not only was intent clear, but given the nature of current events, it was more likely that people would act (and a belief that someone will actually take your call to arms seriously seems like it should factor into things). However, it is a call to an even worse crime, and even though intent can't be proven, it is hard to believe that someone would publish such a list without hoping someone else would act.

Free speech is a great ideal, but we've never had completely free speech, and that's the way it should be. However, if we want to balance our idealism with practicality in a consistent and even handed way, it's important to understand exactly what society will and will not accept.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126670)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

The limit is in both impact and the success. There shouldn't be a limit on your speech as long as you are nonviolent and not forcing yourself upon others. If you are willing to become violent to make your point, you had better be ready to take it all the way *and win*. See American Revolution (violent, yet successful) vs. current situation in Syria (violent, yet getting mowed down in the streets).

As far as "this is censored" goes... I call bullshit. One of the few things that government is actually supposed to do is to protect its law-abiding citizens from real dangers - most tangibly represented as foreign armies and violent thugs. Physical security is among the most basic responsibilities of a government. The rioting kids are fortunate to be alive at the same time as the most convenient and far-reaching communications breakthroughs in human history. The government isn't telling them they can't have a voice, the government is telling them they can't smash up poor shopkeeps' storefronts to make their point.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (3, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126866)

I agree with you, except Syria hardly violent revolution, it was peaceful demonstrations with emotional crowds for sure, but Assad didn't wait for them to turn violent - he just crushed them to show that dissident won't be allowed at any measure. Fact that he tries to do some cynical PR in same time just speaks volumes what he exactly thinks about his nation.

Those people on the top in Syria aren't that afraid from revolution than the fact that they will have to answer about their crimes.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126788)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

Airing that opinion in itself is not a crime (or censored). It becomes a crime when you actually encourage others to do it. If you suggest a particular object, place and/or time for example.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127012)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

You really think these idiots were doing making a political statement or exercising free speech? They were both arranging riots and one even turned up for his riot.

As for the limits of free speech, the UK has plenty of it but it does not include inciting (encouraging) people to commit serious offences. Doing so will see you charged with a crime.

The US may have different boundaries and way of framing free speech. But free speech doesn't mean there are no limits. For example and just randomly, Connecticut has a law [ct.gov] against inciting injuries against persons or property which likely would have applied to defendants writing similar remarks there. I expect most states would have statutes for incitement, criminal intent, threatening behaviour, conspiracy or a raft of other overlapping criminal acts that would have applied to these two.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (-1, Troll)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127016)

Where is the limit with political speech ? Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ? Not that I defend this opinion, but the fact that is is censored disturbs me deeply.

I'm pretty sure that in the UK criticising the government can get you slapped with an antisocial behavior order (for non Brits who don't know, an 'asbo' is where a Judge makes up a new law just for one person, eg "not allowed to raise their right hand above their waist height in a public place" Theoretically a person can be imprisoned indefinitely for breaking these 'laws').

Tony Blair seemed to think that criticising the government amounts to an attack on society and therefore 'antisocial' so we can see where it could go from there.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127106)

As a British Subject, I'd love to see actual examples of an ASBO being issued for criticism of the government...

Because it's something I've never heard of.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127112)

Is that forbidden to state the opinion that violent action is the only way to bring change in a corrupt system ?

Almost. It is forbidden to state that violent action should be used to bring change with the expectation that that advice will be followed.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126618)

unless it's a war crime, right rupert?

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126648)

just planning a crime isn't a crime everywhere though.

but it's ridiculous if you can get away from manslaughter for less time.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126672)

considering there have been multiple deaths because of the riots it is hardly unjust that they get at least what someone guilty of manslaughter gets.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126802)

This has GOT to be the stupidest thing I've read in days. So you're saying they're somehow responsible for deaths separated by both time and geography? Or are you just thinking out loud with your glands?

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126940)

If you incite violence you are responsible for those violent acts as much as those that commited them.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127150)

But the Facebook call to smash Norwich didn't result in violent acts. Norwich stayed calm. And so did Warrington.
The call could have been fit to incite violence, albeit it didn't.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126814)

Did you have a particular manslaughter case in mind? Typically manslaughter would not be less than 4 years. It might be on occasion, but it would no doubt be because of mitigating circumstances.

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127078)

just planning a crime isn't a crime everywhere though.

And that's a good thing too. We don't really want to condemn murder mystery authors doing research for a book that they are writing.

Or fireman having an exercise of how to react to a bombing (Some amount of planning must have preceded the fake bombing to make it realistic enough for the exercise).

Re:It's a crime to attempt a crime, or incite othe (1)

SlashV (1069110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127040)

The page on Inchoate offense doesn't say anything about "inciting others" being such an offense.

Or as Vonnegut calls it: (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127144)

"Suspicion of intent to conspire"

No sense at all (4, Insightful)

AvderTheTerrible (1960234) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126544)

If you are going to make an example of someone, make an example of someone who actually succeeded in using social networking to incite violence and cause damage. These two were just some drunken idiots who thought the riots were cool and wanted to bring them to their town while in a state of inebriation. Fine the hell out of them and make them do some work for the community, no need to take four years of their lives away for something they failed utterly at.

Re:No sense at all (-1, Offtopic)

MakeMyBootyClean (2440322) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126554)

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Re:No sense at all (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126608)

I think England would like to see its ~1970's bank robbery and "Irish" legal thinking extended to social networking.
Expect to see a web 2.0 "conspiracy to commit" legal roll out.

Re:No sense at all (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126622)

What's up with the apparent urge by the British government to "make an example" out of people? Is it that their voters are angry the riots happened and want blood? Is there a legitimate fear that riots could happen again any time soon? Or is it simply an opportunity for them to look like they are tough on crime, vote for me and we'll protect you from those terrible (fill in the blank with whatever you have an irrational fear of)?

Re:No sense at all (3, Insightful)

huiwe (1292974) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126768)

The voters have been told in rolling news that they should be angry and focus on that. So they probably are. The surprise is the rush to provide all the power the police needs to counter the terrorist threat had provisions that the government still couldn't get into law. This new threat should remedy that. All it took was for the police to literally standby and do nothing, not even using the powers they already had.

Re:No sense at all (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126862)

This is exactly how we ended up with the Patriot Act on this side of the Atlantic. All those pesky citizens rights getting in the way of Catching Terraists. The greatest threat facing Western civilization today is our own governments "protecting" us from perceived threats.

Re:No sense at all (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127060)

The greatest threat facing Western civilization today is our own governments "protecting" us from perceived threats.

The greatest threat facing any child is the protection of its parents.

Life needs risk, challenge, consequences. 'Only danger can keep you safe from harm', so the poem goes.

Re:No sense at all (5, Insightful)

Ed Black (973540) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127124)

The voters have been told in rolling news that they should be angry and focus on that..

How rude and insulting. The voters must be stupid, right?

No. The voters *experienced* the riots and are livid that members of their own communities would betray their own in such a nihilistic orgy of crime costing lives, injuries, homes, at least hundreds of jobs (of people/families in their own communities, not of the banks or politicians) and costing millions upon millions of pounds when the country is facing austerity measures, for entertainment and to put a flat screen tv and an xbox in their front room.

"Told they should be angry". Perhaps if you were injured, or your workplace* and/or home** was burned down, or your community had lots of people hurt, homeless and jobless and was looking down the barrel of rebuilding the town when it was facing cuts in every public service, you might think it warranted a serious deterrent for or at least removal of rioters, for however long is appropriate under the law.

Even if they aren't "mindless zombies controlled by the press".

Perhaps if it was YOU looking at your wrecked community or even life, you might think a little pause for thought was warranted before people labelled you malleable and stupid.

*Lots of places can't afford good insurance now btw
**Nobody can afford home insurance in the kind of deprived areas where homes were burnt down.

Re:No sense at all (1, Interesting)

amck (34780) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126990)

The current ConDem government is making dramatic cuts in these deprived areas. In the areas around London where the riots occured, youth unemployment pushes 20-30%, practical illiteracy near 40%. The ComDem government has been introducing 'austerity' measures, removing grants to support schools making attending high school equivalent infeasible for many poorer, closing down the youth clubs, etc.
Local groups have been pointing out that the neighbourhoods have been near riot for months now.

On top of this, they're making large cuts in the police. So when the riots came, the police retreated to just protecting the stations: they didn't have the resources to deal "properly" with riots. The vast majority of arrests have been for looting, etc. : opportunistic crimes , evidence from CCTV and those picked up by cops as the riot cools down, not during the riots themselves. Given the amount of property that burned, the tiny numbers arrested for arson, etc. are remarkable.

So the cops (and government) are relying on fairly brutal policing (when they find you) and hard sentences to deter people from rioting, rather than fixing the problems on the ground (either socially or with proper policing).

Re:No sense at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37127116)

Personally, as a UK citizen, the government needs to make an example out of these individuals. The past ten years of the "softly, softly approach", overly political correctness and massively broad/generic and "open to interpretation/abuse" EU "Human Rights" Bill making those in positions of reponsibility/power almost powerless to act.

Teachers cannot exert any discipline in the classroom.
Police get hindered in their abilities to apprehend/detain criminals.
Prisoners can't be locked up for too long as it violates their "human rights".

It's shocking that this has been allowed to get as far as it has, but the past 13 or more years of legislation has brought about and bred a generation and their children that has a massive sense of entitlement, and hardly any consequences for doing something wrong.

We made our own bed here in the UK. We've slept in it. Somebody has shat in it. Now it's time to change the sheets!

Re:No sense at all (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127046)

I think this is just a timing issue. Those who successfully incited riots will have longer charge sheets, including charges of actual disorder and criminal damage. Hence their cases will take longer to bring to trial than these relatively simple cases involving a single charge. They'll probably get even longer sentences when their cases do come up (probably in a couple of weeks).

And I don't particularly see why incompetence should be a defence in the face of the law.

Re:No sense at all (3, Insightful)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127102)

Blackshaw created a Facebook event entitled 'Smash d[o]wn in Northwich Town' for August 8 but only the police showed up, and arrested him.

He deserved four years for his piss poor organisation.

On a serious note, I think that Blackshaw should perhaps have got two years max (he did create a page which tried to encourage rioting in his home town), but the other bloke perhaps six months for being a drunken dick(he took his page down as soon as he woke up sober.)

However as others have commented I'm sure the sentences will be reduced on appeal once the country has calmed down.

Overturned on appeal, most likely. (2, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126546)

The article says they're appealing it and I'll wager they'll see drastically reduced sentences. 4 years is utterly absurd. Put the people who were actually throwing molotovs and smashing storefronts into the joint for four years, but not guys who made Facebook posts, especially when one deleted it after waking up with a hangover.

I'll wager these guys won't do much in the way of hard time. They certainly shouldn't.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126594)

Half agree, half disagree.

Incitement, aiding and abetting, attempted etc. tend to incur the same standard as the crime itself. (Indeed in terms of such disorder it's often those quietly encouraging others who perpetuate the whole thing). So they should get similar sentences to those actively participating in the riots, if you increase those to 4 years, then these sentences are fine, if on the other hand they're all getting fines and suspended sentences then these are excessive.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (3, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126664)

I think they should be punished, but they didn't actually smash in storefronts, burn down buildings, or throw bricks at cops. I think the end result of the actions should definitely have a bearing on the length of the sentence.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126912)

Just like if you were to hire a hitman, you don't actually fire a bullet, so the sentence should be different?
These guys were actively attempting to incite riots at a time when they were actively happening, attempting to fan the flames (as it were) and cause a spread of burning and looting.
Context is half of a story, and the context of this is clear. It's not intended as a joke, it's not satire. These guys were trying to incite the destruction of businesses and livelihoods, burning and looting. For no other reason than they thought it may be 'fun', and they'd get "respeck" from other idiots of a like mind.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127024)

Just like if you were to hire a hitman, you don't actually fire a bullet, so the sentence should be different?

I think so, yes.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (2)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126666)

It wasn't a judge that imposed this sentence, it was a magistrate. The justices' clerk advised them ignore normal sentencing guidelines, so that most likely the basis that their sentence will be reduced.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (4, Informative)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126698)

No, it was a judge sitting in Chester crown court. Magistrates have a maximum sentencing power of 6 months. IANAL, just heard that expression repeated a lot recently; many looters who plead guilty are being remanded for sentencing at a later date.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126678)

While I'm in the US not the UK, and I am not entirely familiar with the justice system in the UK, I'd also expect to see their sentences reduced somewhat on appeal after things have cooled down. Four years is admittedly a little bit harsh, but perhaps not totally unwarranted given the ongoing situation at the time they made the posts.

If they'd made such posts when no riots had occurred and no riots were currently underway then four years would certainly be excessive as there would have been little actual chance of inciting a riot. But these guys made their posts at a time when riots had occurred shortly before and were presumably still going on elsewhere, a factor which greatly exacerbates their offense. Due to the volatility of the situation when they made their posts the chance of their actually inciting a riot had to have been much greater.

Re:Overturned on appeal, most likely. (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127110)

Actually 4 years seems fine to me. After all their apparent intention was to assemble a mob and create havoc and cause damage. This could be regarded as a disorganized attempt at inciting revolution, something any society must deal with in a very severe manner with harsh penalties.

The guys on the street should get a lot more than 4 years, plus have to pay FULL restitution to those affected. Yes, I know the damages runs into the billions but the taxpayers or other insurance holders should not have to pay for it - it must be those causing it that have to pay. That way they get what they deserve and they'll also be taught a lesson they won't soon forget.

Because facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126548)

It's a riot.

Re:Because facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126598)

...*begins the slow clap [youtube.com] *

It will get reduced, however . . . (2)

Calidreth (2431492) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126592)

It just goes to show that even on the internet you can get in big trouble. A lot of people are learning that you can't get away with "everything" on the internet anymore. I'm surprised these people actually used their name. Haven't they heard of the people that have gotten fired for posting things about their job from there?

Re:It will get reduced, however . . . (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126650)

> Haven't they heard of the people that have gotten fired

No, because in UK English we don't use the pseudo-word "gotten".

Re:It will get reduced, however . . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126770)

... any more.

gotten
        pp. of get, showing vestiges of the O.E. form of the verb.

Re:It will get reduced, however . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126774)

Zing.

Re:It will get reduced, however . . . (2)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126938)

"Gotten" is not a pseudo-word, it is an archaic one; It appears in the 1662 BCP (admittedly in a rubric). The passing of old words and the coming of new ones seems to be never-ending. The Concise Oxford Dictionary now has 'woot', 'retweet' and 'mankini'

Re:It will get reduced, however . . . (4, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126728)

It just goes to show that even on the internet you can get in big trouble. A lot of people are learning that you can't get away with "everything" on the internet anymore. I'm surprised these people actually used their name. Haven't they heard of the people that have gotten fired for posting things about their job from there?

I'd suggest that these people (and most of the other people involved in the riots) aren't exactly the sharpest tools in the box...

Need details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126600)

From reading the article (yeah, I know) it sounds like they just posted placeholder pages so people could comment on something that might happen. It would be like MSM putting together a video obit for a politician in anticipation of their being asassinated, and then broadcasting it as opposed to airing a video that actually said "you should kill this politician".

It's weird and in poor taste; but is it actually incitement? IANAL (and not British) but don't you actually have to say "go do this" or "you should do this" for it to be incitement?

Is this pretty much because.. (2)

grizzifus (2021406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126658)

they aren't going to catch most of the actual rioters?

Re:Is this pretty much because.. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126842)

No they probably won't catch most. There were an awful lot of rioters and looters. But they have arrested nearly 3000 people with 1300 having been in front of the courts so far. And they'll be continuing to track them down for weeks or months to come. So it's not that they don't have people who actually rioted/looted that they can make examples of.

The motivation is obvious. They don't want anyone else to incite a riot. Deterrence being one of the 3 justifications for punishment, and the most important one in this case.

similarity to Libya? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126708)

To me, it seems very similar to situation in Libya. Oppressed people are standing up against non democratic royal government. This government is using martial law against people freely expressing their opinion, and calling their fellows to stand up against tyranny.
It is simply not just that NATO is helping people in Libya and bombing them to democracy, but is denying the same service to our fellow English people. NATO should bomb Buckingham palace without any further hesitation, to put pressure on royal tyranny and force them to stop oppressing freedom in their country.

Re:similarity to Libya? (0)

drunkahol (143049) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126750)

Who are you and what have you done with "Anonymous Coward"? Even AC's normal comments, miserably low on thought process and deliberately provoking aren't a patch on this steaming pile of manure.

Are you just visiting this planet? If so, please take everything you've learned so far and delete it. If not, please take everything you've learned so far in life and delete it. You need to start education again from scratch. Try and listen this time round.

Re:similarity to Libya? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126876)

You've been successfully trolled.

Re:similarity to Libya? (1)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126954)

I think perhaps you need to buy an irony detection device, as your current one seems to be malfunctioning

Others crimes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126732)

The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent.

This could be a pretty big problem.

The Judge himself is pretty much saying here that he considers the punishment to be excessive compared to the crime but that Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan should be punished more because the legal system doesn't want to bother with the rest of the criminals.
Well, it is not exactly his wording and it might not be that way in this particular case but I have seen that kind of reasoning in other cases and I seriously doubt that the two boys even would have been arrested if it weren't for a lot of other people running around causing trouble in the UK at the moment.

Compare to the average file sharing case where the plaintiff is punished because he could potentially have distributed a work to 10000 other people.
In those cases it is assumed that the plaintiff has distributed the work to 10 other people and that he should take the punishement for the crimes that those other 10 people did. (Not that it clears them from any legal action in the future.)

Re:Others crimes (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37127152)

If you punish people for more than what they actually did, you are abandoning the rule of law and enter tyranny. It's as simple as that.

If the Founding Fathers had Facebook... (0)

morikahnx (1323841) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126742)

... I think the U.S. would still be British property.

Re:If the Founding Fathers had Facebook... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126838)

Actually, with Tony Blair goading George Bush into invading Iraq and all, I think it still is...

Inconsistency is a huge warning sign for any rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126748)

I wonder what rationalization people use to distinguish between this man and those that incite a populace to support military invasion of other countries to loot their goodies.

This past riot right? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126760)

Because really it does seem fast for due process.. Like, really. Like, Japanese Conviction Rate [wikipedia.org] fast...

Re:This past riot right? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127002)

Countries like the UK, Canada and Japan use group sentencing if all of the same people are caught doing the same thing(i.e. riotous actions, drug smuggling, theft, etc). It saves on time, and court space instead of having 250 or 800 trials. They simply bring them to court, have their lawyer represent them, use a jail feed, or sworn in by affidavit(as required/need), that they're pleading *x* to whatever crime.

If someone want to dispute it, they can. Then they get shoved off into another court at a later date.

Re:This past riot right? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127026)

Well they confessed and plead guilty. What else is there for court to do except fill out some paper work and sentence them?

It's a bluff for rioters. (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126766)

This will get appealed and tossed out, but in the mean time, it might just be handy to keep people guessing before they go rioting.

"hey, let's have a riot!"
"no, we will get a billion years in prison just facebooking about it."
"ok lets go find some birds to shag"

Something to keep the tossers off balance.

Bully for Cameron! (5, Informative)

radio4fan (304271) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126784)

Prime Minister David Cameron said [telegraph.co.uk] :

Mr Cameron said: “What happened on our streets was absolutely appalling behaviour and to send a very clear message that it’s wrong and won’t be tolerated is what the criminal justice system should be doing.

Mr Cameron is no stranger to appalling behaviour, being a former member of the Bullingdon Club [wikipedia.org] , "notorious for its members' wealth and destructive binges". The club song apparently goes: "Buller, Buller, Buller! Buller, Buller, Buller! We are the famous Bullingdon Club, and we don't give a fuck!"

Cameron's 'Buller' escapades include running from the police through the streets of Oxford after a heavy flowerpot was thrown through a restaurant window [ft.com] .

And that is the problem in England (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126854)

The country is morally corrupt. When lords are send to jail by the bus load but still only a fraction of the ones who made a complete mess of things can you expect the people on the bottom not to feel they can do some leeching of society as well?

Human society doesn't work because we are social or because we are good but because more or less the majority doesn't want to much fuzz so they get along. Just see how on footpads people tend to go left-right despite their not being any law for it. Because going against the stream is a nuisance.

But there are some people who love going against the stream and that is okay, society needs a few to shake it up and then. A few. Not the entire bloody lot. One shady lord just makes for some good headlines and a feeling that they are the same as us after all. Hundreds of corrupt lords makes people feel they are being told to be behave by criminals.

In England so far the elections are not so much about electing the most popular party but the party that is considered the least sleaziest. The tories got kicked out because there sleaze just got so big nobody could ignore it anymore, then labour sleezed it up and now the tories are back with their sleaze. It is almost amusing until you realize that in many ways england is as bankrupt as greece. Worse even if you realize that greece isn't supposed to be rich, any loss in wealth is fictional wealth. England was a rich nation and now it isn't. When you got to sell of your carriers and lay of thousands of police, you are not doing well. But no brit can admit it.

If you visited England over the last few decades you have seen a country sliding into poverty. No income, no plan, hoodlums at the controls.

Re:Bully for Cameron! (1)

rekrowyalp (797421) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126934)

I'm with you on the irresponsibility of politicians, but it seems like the Bullingdon Club usually paid for their damages. Still a disgusting display of wealth and arrogance, but not in the same league as burning down apartments with people still inside, shooting a man so you can steal his car to burn it, or beating a 60-something year-old man to death.

Re:Bully for Cameron! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37127084)

Yes, it wasn't that serious, more comparable to writing something criminally stupid on facebook; so something small like 4 years in prison would have been appropriate, rather than anything draconian.

By the way, do you honestly thing it's ok to commit a crime and just toss some money at the victim and that's the end of the matter? You don't see the problem here? I don't normally like to make personal comments, but you're an idiot.

Re:Bully for Cameron! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126992)

Yeah. Worth drawing a comparison, as a couple of lefty commentators have.

Because a flowerpot through a restaurant window is pretty much the same thing as torching a flat with small children sleeping inside.

Fucking limp-wristed Guardian-reading retard.

This is NOT about freedom of speech (2)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126796)

THIS is about consequences. No one can shut you when you have to say something - but expect some punishment if something you want to say includes breaking the law in senseless way like looting and destroying others property without sensible cause. And yes, even you see your aim just, law just doesn't care. Judge might, but still you will receive penalty for initiating uncontrolled mobs and riots. If you want start a revolution, sorry kid, with all good intends it takes much more organizing than that. Otherwise mob is just a mob and in it responsibility and morality of individual goes down the drain.

4 years sounds harsh, but I don't know lot of details. I would go for 2 years, which are enough for thinking this trough.

Why.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126822)

Didn't anyone ever tell the UK goverments that 1984 was supposed to be a work of FICTION and an example of what NOT to do...

Re:Why.... (2)

malkavian (9512) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126924)

Yes, continually through the Labour government, where they had databases and registers to track almost everything you wanted to do. And if it wasn't criminal, then you'd better believe they had a plan to make it illegal if they thought they could.

Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126870)

At the bottom of the page of the ZDNet article, under the heading "See also":
"Egyptian activist charged with inciting violence via Facebook"

Apples and Oranges?

Facebook? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126948)

4 years in primary school would have been more appropriate.

The judge is an idiot (4, Insightful)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#37126972)

First of all, research has shown again and again that harsh penalties simply do not work as a deterrent to other offenders.

Secondly, does the judge expect that another riot is around the corner? Who is he trying to deter?

I expect the sentence to be reduced on appeal.

How it get possible? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37126986)

Yes it is appealing in this case it can be reduced only by the disgusting environment. its main causes should be eradicate first to overcome this.
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£168k (1)

Pond823 (643768) | more than 3 years ago | (#37127104)

4 years will equal 2 years in prison at a cost of £42,000 a year. 42000 x 2 x 2 = £168,000 in tax money. Joy. PS Thinking of deleting my Facebook because frankly I say dumb stuff I don't mean when drunk.
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