Facebook wannabe rioters cop large helpings of porridge
Flashplod rather than flashmob: only cops showed up
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 just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality it is easy to understand the four-year sentences that were handed down in court today," said Chester police assistant chief constable Phil Thompson.
"In Cheshire, we quickly recognised the impact of the situation on our communities and the way in which social media was being used to promote and incite behaviour that would strike fear in to the hearts of our communities."
The court hoped that the hefty sentences would deter others from writing similar stupid posts on social networks.
"Officers took swift action against those people who have been using Facebook and other social media sites to incite disorder," added Thompson.
"The sentences passed down today recognise how technology can be abused to incite criminal activity and send a strong message to potential troublemakers about the extent to which ordinary people value safety and order in their lives and their communities. Anyone who seeks to undermine that will face the full force of the law."
The two men pleaded guilty under sections 44 (intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence) and 46 (encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed) of the Serious Crime Act.
However, neither Blackshaw or Sutcliffe-Keenan were successful in their efforts to incite a riot in their home towns, after posting "events" and "pages" on Facebook.
The Crown Prosecution Service told the BBC that Blackshaw had called on Facebookers who were members of the "Mob Hill Massive Northwich Lootin'" group to "Smash d[o]wn in Northwich Town".
That group has now been removed from Facebook.
The event created by Blackshaw urged people to meet on the afternoon of 9 August "behind maccies" – understood to mean the McDonald's fast food joint – in Northwich town centre.
He also posted the first comment on the page, declaring: "We'll need to get this kickin off all over."
Only the police turned up at Maccie-D's, however, and Blackshaw was promptly arrested.
Sutcliffe-Keenan, meanwhile, created a Facebook page calling on people to "riot" on 10 August. His message went out to 400 contacts on the site, but he took down the page the following morning, claiming the post had been a joke.
Similarly, no rioting took place as a result of Sutcliffe-Keenan inciting people to do exactly that in his home town of Warrington.
But both men were handed tough sentences yesterday for their actions on Facebook.
Their profiles no longer exist on the social network. But inevitably, a page in support of the pair has already appeared on Facebook.
The "Free Jordan Blackshaw & Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan" page currently has 20 people who "like" it.
However, many of the posts on the site are heavily abusive comments. So presumably the Facebook police will see this and take down the page.
There's also a separate page urging Facebookers to campaign "Against Jail Sentences for Rioters & Looters".
It currently has one solitary fan. ®
[We submit for your consideration the term 'flashplod' for a planned flashmob event where only police turn up - apparently now quite common - ed]
What a joke
Show-trials reminiscent of good ole failed commie states. Rapists and killers getting less. A prime-minister giving his mates a second chance, but no chances for the average joe. Corrupt police handing over personal data for tens of thousands of pounds but not going to jail, police harassing photographers in the street, police killing innocent people, members of Parliament flipping mortages, claiming ridiculous expenses and getting off with a smack on the wrist VS a mother of two getting several months for accepting a pair of stolen shorts, four years for Facebook idiocy, another jailtime for stealing a bottle of water.
Do as I say, not as I do. This country is sick, and that sickness starts at the top. What justice is there when 'justice' is two-tiered ? I'm all for justice and in fact I'm all for a two-tiered system, but it should be the reverse of what it apparently is now. Politicians and those in positions of power should be held to a far higher standard than the average joe, and any malfeasance, corruption, whatever, should be treated extra-harshly in their case. As it is I just despair at the hypocrisy and the utter abject failure of politics and 'justice' in the UK.
Four years in the slammer - two if they behave - is certainly going to make these individuals better citizens. Where's the sarcasm icon?
(Yes, for the punishment fetishists amongst us, they did show up to riot and thus aren't merely being banged up for saying "Let's riot!" but by the time people get nicked for clicking the "like" button, Dave Cameron and chums will have a very small finger to wag at the Chinese and other nasty regimes.)
I'm mixed about this.
First and foremost, they got hauled in front of the beak and given a criminal record. Job well done.
I'm not so sure about the sentence length though and my comparison is this.
Those involved in the rioting/looting etc, have been hauled in front of magistrates and given sentences of between 4 & 6 months. (http://www.gmp.police.uk/disorderconvictions)
These guys, who tried to incite violence gets 4 years. I'm mixed because I cannot see what was worse, trying and failing to incite violence or actual being involved in the violence.
If they have incited and succeeded, then 4 year porridge would be minimum sentence in my view.
Any other views?