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Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan  (Source: anorak.co.uk)
Both men are looking to appeal the sentence because they feel the punishment didn't match the offence

Two weeks ago, the shooting of a 29-year-old man by the Metropolitan Police Service in Tottenham, North London caused a chaotic scene. British citizens from many surrounding cities began rioting in the streets, participating in illegal activities like arson, burglary, robbery and looting. In the end, five civilians were killed, 1,200 people were imprisoned and 186 police officers were injured.

Now, two UK men have been sentenced to prison for attempting to use Facebook to provoke riots in northwest England.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, used Facebook in a failed attempt to encourage riots in their hometowns in England. Blackshaw created a Facebook event called "Smash d[o]wn in Northwich Town" for August 8 and Sutcliffe-Keenan made a Facebook page called "The Warrington Riots" on August 9. Sutcliffe-Keenan ended up deleting his page the next day.

According to BBC, the Facebook pages started out as a "misguided joke between the two men." Nevertheless, both were arrested, and both plead guilty and were found guilty under sections 44 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act to "intentionally encourage another to assist the commission of an indictable offense."

Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan were sentenced to four years in prison for their failed attempts to provoke riots using Facebook by Judge Elgan Edwards QC of Chester Crown Court.

"They both used Facebook to organize and orchestrate serious disorder at a time when such incidents were taking place in other parts of the country," said Martin McRobb, of the Merseyside and Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service. "Both defendants, in Northwich and Warrington respectively, sought to gain widespread support in order to replicate similar criminality. While the judge heard the two defendants were previously of good character, they admitted committing very serious offences that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years."

Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan are looking to appeal the sentence because they feel the punishment didn't match the offence.

"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 Phil Thompson, assistant chief constable of the Cheshire Constabulary. "The sentences passed down today recognize how technology can be abused to incite criminal activity and sends 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."


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Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 12:20:03 PM , Rating: 5
To give up some of their civil liberties for a "safer" society need look no further than to read this article. It is fundamental evidence that any willingness by the people to give up these unalienable, human needs can lead to nothing good.

August 8th--yes, that was what, less than two weeks ago? That is hardly time for proper due process in the courts, especially to provide adequate counsel and preparation for a defense. Despite the plea, being handed down a four year sentence in such a short period of time can in no way be construed as a just verdict.

I have increasingly read posts and listened to rants in the past year from individuals seeking "zero tolerance" type policies and laws to be passed. The Casey Anthony verdict comes to mind especially when I think about this. I do not wish to discuss this case but will say that those people, if they are fruitful in their efforts, will get exactly what they deserve. They run the risk themselves of finding the brunt of the law bearing down upon their selves with absolutely no chance to fight back against it.

I believe that everyone should have a right to clear their name while receiving proper consideration from the courts and their peers should they be found guilty. Simply throwing people in jail for extended periods in no way solves the problem. It creates a tremendous tax burden to begin with.

Now, there are particular situations where imprisonment and execution are certainly warranted. However, our world needs to properly digest the distinctive differences between proper and improper. Throwing these guys into lockup for such a long period of time for... speaking their mind should be thought of for a much longer period of time than less than two weeks. Granted the rioting caused death and destruction which none of us wish to see--what is at stake here is a precedence for violation of human rights to speak out against their government.

Yes, this is in the United Kingdom. Yes, I also realize that this is one of many reasons why our framers designed our Bill of Rights in the United States as they did. I'm also very glad they did this as what the UK has just done serves to show exactly why our document should be cherished so much.

Sadly, I see that many Americans either don't care, don't know, are simply uneducated or--have let their emotions get control of the better part of their logic and no longer think. This should be something to think about in the least. I fear most will not though and that will serve to be another blow to our ever-decreasing freedoms in this great country of ours.




RE: Anyone who is willing...
By ClownPuncher on 8/19/2011 12:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
You can't incite a riot in the US, either. Though, there is probably a difference in posting on Facebook and actually being down there escalating the situation yourself. Either way, chavs are scum.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By kattanna on 8/19/2011 12:54:52 PM , Rating: 1
the one thing that really jumps out to me here is 2 weeks?? seriously, from arrest to sentencing of a "major" crime as they are calling it, in only 2 weeks?

seems to me at least that the government is using these 2 kids as examples and nothing more.

though 4 years for a crime where they have no proof anyone was injured by it also seems a bit more "show" as well.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By aegisofrime on 8/19/2011 12:57:21 PM , Rating: 3
You Americans are just used to having trials that last for months and years.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By karielash on 8/19/2011 3:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
Lawyers need love to~~~


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By cubby1223 on 8/19/11, Rating: -1
RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 12:59:54 PM , Rating: 5
But it _is_ your problem to worry about. Our Patriot Act has steadily been decreasing our freedoms every single year since it has been passed. The United Kingdom is one shining example of the end result of giving up civil liberties for "protection."

Living in fear is not living, it is preparing to die.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By YashBudini on 8/21/2011 6:15:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Living well is the best revenge.

George Herbert
http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26999.html


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By The Raven on 8/19/2011 3:56:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If there were injustices done, then let the U.K. citizens riot in protest.
Yeah but they better not use Facebook ;-)


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Samus on 8/19/2011 12:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
All this shows is how substantially more efficient their justice system is than ours.

How is this a bad thing? They would have been accused of "acts of terror" (and possibly treason) if tried here in the USA, and it would have probably carried a similar penalty. The real difference is it would have taken as long as it took Congress to raise the debt ceiling to conclude. Things move annoyingly slow here, especially in the legal system. All this does is cost tax payers money to pay judge saleries and make lawyers wealthier and wealthier.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 1:06:11 PM , Rating: 3
Oh I'm totally against acts of terror and feel strongly that inciting a violent riot is the wrong way about achieving a desirable, long-term result. From what I can tell, in the United States inciting a riot incurs possible fines -or- imprisonment up to 5 years while States have laws of their own encompassing it that in many instances involve just fines or public service for more minor infractions.

Remember, these guys only posted a call to arms. They were both unsuccessful (thankfully) and the riots did not occur. Throwing them away for four years just reeks of them setting an "example" of them rather than following the rule of law properly.

Who knows, maybe these guys incited the other riots. I don't live there so I have no idea. I can sit back though and tell whether something smells funny though or perhaps is worthy of extended discussion.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 1:18:20 PM , Rating: 1
What's wrong with "setting an example" anyway?

You don't seem to understand one of the factors that played such a big part in how these riots started in the first place, and spread so far and so fast was that these guys are from a generation who genuinely believe that they are above the law. That hte police can't touch them, and that they can do whatever they want because there is no room in our jails and even so, stopping them from doing whatever they want is against their human rights.

Not just some crazy gibberish from some right wing nut who thinks that the world is going to hell in a hand cart, that's what many of the rioters were saying at the time and were saying soon afterwards.

Sure, they were unsuccessful, but if I was to "only" a request on facebook for people to join me in going to your house, robbing you and your family, then setting fire to the place whether you've got yourself and your family out of there or not, as this was happening all over ht country, then I think you'd feel that my receiving a couple of years (which is all this will be ultimately) is not such a large sentence, when you consider what they were trying to get going.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 1:34:42 PM , Rating: 3
I can guarantee that if someone was going to my house to harm myself or my family, my 5.56 mm and 42-round magazines would become useful. I decided a while ago that I can't depend on my Government to protect me or even uphold my rights.

You're right though, I don't understand all of the factors. I have no idea who the 29-year old that was shot originally nor the full circumstances. None of us do.

Setting an example has been useful for centuries, though it mainly has been done through authoritarian rule to place the populace in fear. The rule of law is not about "setting an example" at all but instead about weighing the scales of justice and allowing them to work.

That is all I'm trying to point out here. At face value, it looks as if those scales were not weighed properly or completely. From my vantage point, the United Kingdom has been stomping out people's civil liberties for the last couple of decades and for the longest time, people there have just bent over and taken it.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Bostlabs on 8/19/2011 1:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't they plead guilty? I thought I read that in the article. If so why are they crying? They could have gotten 10 years.

In my mind, if you plead guilty you've accepted that there is going to be some punishment.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, they did plead guilty. It would have made sense that if they did, they would have received a plea deal provided they had counsel to guide them. From what I've read about United States laws, a plea deal might have netted them a fine, a short time in jail or community service, not four years. This is the UK though.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 1:50:32 PM , Rating: 1
Stomping? I think you've been jumping to conclusions based on "reports" and "articles" on sites like this.

I don't really see how jailing people for wanting to do this sort of thing is stomping on anyone's civil liberties either.

They had access to council, they can appeal too. Can go to the European courts too. The thing is, these kinds of facts are somewhat boring, and don't make for good headlines on sites like this.

"2 UK men may appeal sentences, long hearings possible, potentially going throgh the UK courts before ultimately going to the European human rights court......." Not a catchy headline.

It seems pretty simple though. If you don't want to go to jail? Don't try to get a load of people together to riot on a semi open platform like facebook.

The thing is, these kids are so brazen that they were posting photos of themselves with their loot and them rioting/looting on facebook and twitter. You might think that liberties re being taken away, but many think he exact opposite, and with just as good reason.

I'm not saying that the government and courts haven't gone too far in some cases, but they've also been too soft in others, especially since the European Human right's act came in to force too.

Just look at the "super injunction" (google "Ryan Giggs super injunction") cases, where the courts stop people discussing with their friends about what they have heard. That's going too far, IMHO. This story? No.

The problem is, when you go too soft on some crimes then it creates a climate in which people actively call for harsher sentences, and that's when governments can take advantage of that sentiment and pass over zealous laws.

You've gotta pick and choose your fights.

Also, I enjoyed your humorous comment about not wanting these guys to go to jail for a few years after only having 2 weeks to go to triel, but having no problem handing out an instant, on the spot dearth sentence without any independent input. Or is there a lengthy hearing and "due process" that takes place before you open fire?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 2:15:38 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Also, I enjoyed your humorous comment about not wanting these guys to go to jail for a few years after only having 2 weeks to go to triel, but having no problem handing out an instant, on the spot dearth sentence without any independent input. Or is there a lengthy hearing and "due process" that takes place before you open fire?


What are you going to do with an intruder in your home? Say "Hi, would you like me to make you a sammich? Please have a seat, you look tired, kick back and enjoy yourself."

Seriously? Would you?

We have laws in the United States called "Castle Doctrine" which give us the right to defend ourselves as we see fit against any intruder in our home if we feel like our lives our threatened. Now, that doesn't mean "Make 'em run and plug em in the back!" No, that wouldn't look good at all to the courts and would be a bad decision as, well, if you can get them to run away, then mission accomplished, no need to shoot them.

There is basically this societally accepted rule that exists which says something like, "Don't go into someone elses house without asking their permission first." It is generally a good idea to give the intruder the option to surrender and lay down on the ground until the authorities intervene. Having something that you can use to help "coerce" them is invaluable. If you tried it with just your fists or a baseball bat, you might just get laughed at.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 2:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the only options are greeting them and making them a sandwich, or shooting them.

You missed the main point about due process though, while instantly handing out the ultimate, sentence, that no one can appeal against.

But seeing as it is due to a law that has been passed, then that's OK. Who can question that? Of course, these guys that are being referred to in this article are not being tried according to laws are they?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 2:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You missed the main point about due process though, while instantly handing out the ultimate, sentence, that no one can appeal against.


How did I miss it? I said this above...

quote:
It is generally a good idea to give the intruder the option to surrender and lay down on the ground until the authorities intervene.


Allowing the authorities to intervene starts due process. I'm at least giving them a choice.

However, I'm a gun crazy American but I will reveal one point, that I am a southerner. Perhaps, instead I should treat them to some southern hospitality. Instead of just offering them a sammich, I should be polite and say something like,

"Howdy there, pardner. I gots this rifle pointed atcha head, but I see yer sweatin' there. Would ya like a glass of sweet tea and perhaps a nice, warm sandwich before I put some lead in yer hide?"

That sounds a bit better, right? ;)

quote:
Of course, these guys that are being referred to in this article are not being tried according to laws are they?


I'm sure they were tried according to laws. The expediency of the sentence being passed though affords me some doubt to as whether they were afforded all their rights to contest the charges that they normally would have. I'm all for expeditious trials (we have far too many here that take years to come in front of a judge only to be full of mistakes made by the prosecution) but there is a such thing as it possibly being... too fast? It just presents more questions rather than answers in this case.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 2:42:28 PM , Rating: 1
I still don't get what you think needed to come out in this trial?

They admitted to being guilty, and the evidence was pretty damming.

It seems to me that your just another American wanting to feel better about yourself and what's going on in your own nation by questioning things like this and pretending that things are better where you are.

Oh, and lets not kid ourselves that you're going to say (or were thinking about saying, when you wrote your original reply) "oh hi there Mr looter sir, would you care to surrender, and please do not open fire first as you invade my home, as I would very much like for you to get onto the ground so that you may get your day in court".

Deluded.

And if you were in the UK I'd offer you a fish to go with that chip on your shoulder, but as your not, I'll just offer you a choice of dips instead.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 2:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
Feel better about myself? Did you not read my first post to the end?

quote:
Sadly, I see that many Americans either don't care, don't know, are simply uneducated or--have let their emotions get control of the better part of their logic and no longer think. This should be something to think about in the least. I fear most will not though and that will serve to be another blow to our ever-decreasing freedoms in this great country of ours.


That is what I said. No where did it imply that I feel better about myself or my nation. No, it specifically inferred that I'm unhappy with the erosion of our liberties here and to the average American, what happened in the UK will go unnoticed as most don't give a darn about the dissolution of their rights on a daily basis.

I've drawn my weapon twice on my property, once in preparation and another time I afforded the suspect "freeze!" which they did, and questioned them (which later lead to them being picked up by the police). Please don't assume we're all insane. Just because some of us are proud of our weapons and our right to stand up for ourselves doesn't mean we are Dirty Harry at the same time.

If you were in America, I would offer you a glass of iced, sweet tea and perhaps a basket of fried okra so that would could continue a civil discussion. ;)


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 4:54:35 PM , Rating: 1
Still avoiding the main point then?

Yes, I read your first post, and then I read all the others, and on balance, the comment that you chose to quote has been out weighed by the rest that followed.

Oh, and I'll stop generalising and grossly stereotyping when you do.

Shall we just focus on the point at hand?

So, anyway, after digressing greatly..... Please explain what you think needed to come out/be debated in court after they admitted their guilt and the evidence from their facebook was shown?

Finally, I don't have a problem of you feeling proud to be able to own a gun, and happy that you need one in order to feel safe. In saying that, some of us are proud to live in countries where we don't need a gun to feel safe in our homes, nor do we need a gun to stand up for ourselves ether, which we (and a lot of people around the world do too) have the right to do as well. I don't know why you seem to think that that is only something that people with guns, or who live in America have the right to do?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 5:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
A couple things:

a. Consideration of their track record (i.e. previous arrests/convictions etc.)

b. Results of their crime (i.e. did a mob result, etc.)

c. Possible plea bargaining for a guilty plea

I don't know how the courts work in the UK, but I know how they work here. The timeframe the sentence was handed down in and the severity of the punishment seems a bit much.

quote:
In saying that, some of us are proud to live in countries where we don't need a gun to feel safe in our homes, nor do we need a gun to stand up for ourselves ether


I think it is great that you are proud of that. Nowhere have I said that you have to possess one to have that right. It just makes exercising the right to protect your home easier and more efficient.

I, along with many other Americans do not trust their Government to do what is "right" for everyone here. We still believe in limited Federal powers, State rights and the lack of a need for a "police state." History has shown many times that citizens that put too much trust in their leader or Government ultimately end up getting used by it in the end.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By FS on 8/19/2011 6:03:04 PM , Rating: 1
Seems like MrBlastman is hurt to see 2 young white men being punished harshly(ie: I agree with him that the punishment is harsh) simply to set an example and is set on the idea that the UK gov't is authoritarian. Interesting how the same level of rage does not occur even though everyday our justice system in the US hands out harsher punishments than these to people of color(black/brown). They are hardly ever proportionate to the crime and hardly ever match the punishment that a white person receives for the same crime(ie: it's a fact that on average, whites receive less harsh punishments than others for the same crime). Also, it's almost always minorities that are chosen to set an example. So maybe MrB is upset to see a minority NOT being chosen in the UK to set an example and show other people what happens when you try to incite a riot.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/30/2011 1:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
You don't know how the courts work, but why should that stop you writing the tripe that you have above?

Mind... boggled.

You might want to look at more than just one case that you see on a sensationalist technology website before passing judgement over a system that you admittedly know nothing about.

You really don't know what you're talking about but kudos for the effort and for being happy to call or heavily hint that you think that Britain is a police state, and that we are living in fear. Whilst apparently not seeing the irony as you admit to affectively sleeping with a gun under your pillow out of fear for your own safety due to what other citizens might do to you/your property and because you fear/distrust your government, all while living in a country that still kills it's own citizens and locks up a pretty large percentage of them.

So before you start making ridiculous and ignorant comments about what goes on in other peoples' countries, maybe you should stick to sorting your own mess out first?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Iaiken on 8/19/2011 1:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They would have been accused of "acts of terror" (and possibly treason) if tried here in the USA


Really, because looking over US case histories for people inciting riot show that there is actually a specific federal statute for it's prosecution and punishment by the court.

quote:
From the Law Office of Jeralyn E. Merritt:

Inciting a riot applies to a person who organizes, encourages, or participates in a riot. It can apply to one who urges or instigates others to riot. It does not apply to someone who merely advocates ideas or expresses beliefs, if those ideas and beliefs do not involve advocating violence.

The federal crime of inciting a riot carries a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine.

State and local governments also have laws that make it a crime to incite a riot. The penalties range from fines only to jail time. It is important that the law, even if only a municipal ordinance, specify the conduct that that is prohibited with sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited.
quote:


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By joex444 on 8/20/2011 9:27:40 AM , Rating: 2
Ahh... but look at the very first sentence, "Inciting a riot applies to a person who organizes, encourages, or participates in a riot."

If you read this correctly, then to be charged with "inciting a riot" there must have *actually been* a riot. What these guys in the UK did would be closer to "attempting to incite a riot." While I'm not sure what their posts said, if they did not advocate violence then it's possible to argue they merely were expressing beliefs/advocating ideas and that specifically is not a crime.

Despite the fact is the US, we have the highest incarceration rate (or perhaps due to this fact) if they were charged with something like this they would most likely not serve prison time. Community service and fines would probably be easy for a defense lawyer to negotiate, particularly if they did not have criminal records.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By AerieC on 8/19/2011 1:00:43 PM , Rating: 5
There's a big difference between protecting the free exchange of ideas and opinions and protecting the planning and organization of acts that intend to cause violence, harm, or criminal activity.

It's the old, "Can't yell fire in a crowded theater" argument. Yelling fire in an attempt to incite panic is not related to free ideas or opinions.

You're completely free to say that the riots are justified, or to say that, in your opinion, people should be rioting in the streets. But organizing a riot goes beyond free speech into a criminal act. Organizing an event is not speech, it is an act. Organizing a criminal act is against the law.

It's the same reason conspiracy to commit murder is a crime. You are completely free to hold the opinion (and even voice it) that someone deserves to die. You are NOT free to plan that person's murder. It's NOT free speech, it's planning a criminal act.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By foolsgambit11 on 8/21/2011 2:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, and yet I disagree. It's a complicated issue, no doubt. Certainly, our right to free speech has certain limits, and inciting violence is crossing the line. But in this case, there are a few, let's call them foibles, that leave me questioning whether justice was really served.

First, there is a question (raised by the BBC) of whether these two actually intended to incite a riot - their event listings were supposedly (in my view very bad) jokes. Second, there is the fact that apparently no riots or violence actually occurred because of their Facebook event notifications. To tie that into the "can't yell fire in a crowded movie house" analogy, would it be a crime to yell "fire" if nobody actually moved? The point of the analogy is to emphasize that we are responsible for the effects of our actions - including speech. When there are no effects, to what are we to be held responsible? Essentially, these two points question whether these two men were in fact planning and organizing acts that intend to cause violence, harm, or criminal activity.

Thirdly, closely related to the first two, one could question whether a Facebook event is really planning the commission of a crime. This argument hinges on the weight and importance placed on online activities versus "real world" activities, and is certainly the weakest argument of the three, but it deserves a mention, since people certainly take online statements with a grain of salt.

And finally, the timeline throws doubt on whether justice has really been served. In order for the impartial execution of justice to be achieved, we must put some distance between the events and the punishment (excluding incidents where immediate action is required based on exigent circumstances, in order to prevent further crimes - not the case in this circumstance, the sentence coming after order was restored). In this case, with the trauma of the riots so fresh on everyone's minds, it would be difficult to see the acts of these two in a fair and impartial light.

These Facebook events should certainly be taken seriously during riotous times, and preventative measures may be warranted. But after the fact, when the impact of the actions can be clearly judged, perhaps the punitive actions taken should have been lighter. Yes, still punished, but less.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By foolsgambit11 on 8/21/2011 2:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
To clarify point 3 a little:

Would people here treat a Facebook status post that said, "There should be riots here in [place name], too" the same as the event notification? Possibly not, but the difference between the two is much more subtle than in the real world, where the statements, "There should be riots here, too" and "Let's get together for a riot tomorrow" are certainly quite different. Perhaps it's impossible for the law to be crafted in such a way that it could effectively deal with that subtle difference, though.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By AerieC on 8/22/2011 2:07:25 PM , Rating: 2
Free speech is no doubt a complicated issue, and I doubt that humanity will ever reach a full consensus on the issue.

I agree with your first point. The two might not have actually intended to incite riots. They may have just intended the facebook posts as crude humor, but think again about the crowded theater analogy. The person yelling "fire" could be intending it as a joke, but if a "joke" has real life consequences that cause pain and suffering to others, it needs to be taken seriously. There are things you can't joke about. Joke bomb threats for example, or joke assassination threats. These are jokes that have real life consequences. Saying, "I did it as a joke" is not a good excuse for acts that could harm others, and/or cost people or institutions money (e.g. calling the bomb squad on a fake bomb, having to evacuate a facility due to the fake bomb threat, etc.)

If it was a joke, that needs to be made VERY clear. It was not made at all clear by the sounds of things, else the ruling may have been very different.

Secondly, regardless of the outcomes, the act itself needs to be discouraged. Just because nobody rioted doesn't mean that their act was legal and/or justified. In the same vein, a failed murder is still illegal even if no one got killed, and reckless driving is still punishable even if no one gets hurt. Acts that have the potential to cause harm need to be discouraged, and the only way for the law to do that is to attach a punishment to them.

To your third point, I think, especially in these times, the internet can and should be considered a part of "the real world". It's certainly very real to me, and you'd better believe that if someone posted online that they were going to assassinate the president, the secret service would assume it was a very real threat (and this has been proven true in the past).

I do agree that the punishment is harsh considering the fact that they pled guilty, but how harsh a punishment is is subjective. If you asked a hundred people what an appropriate punishment was for this crime, you'd probably get a hundred different answers.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By cannonac on 8/23/2011 5:14:23 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, but people did turn up, certainly in Northwich anyway. Only a heavy police presence stopped anything happening.

Andy


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Iaiken on 8/19/2011 1:01:44 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Granted the rioting caused death and destruction which none of us wish to see--what is at stake here is a precedence for violation of human rights to speak out against their government.


Speaking out against your government or inciting civil disobedience is one thing, but inciting violent riots with intent is a whole different can of worms. In a modern democracy, there are so many peaceful paths to legal recourse that such senseless violence is almost utterly pointless.

As much as people dislike it, there are limits on freedom of speech once intent is factored in. There is a huge legal difference been saying "I hope you get shot." and "I am going to shoot you." Just as there is a huge difference between saying "Riots are a riot" and "let's get out there and smash some cars".

Even in the US the "Smith Act" remains a federal law that restricts freedom of speech by excluding speech advocating or inciting the overthrow of the United States Government from protection.

This case on it's own isn't particular interesting because they plead guilty to inciting civil disorder. What is interesting is that despite the guilty plea, the court still sought to make examples of them despite the fact that they plead guilty and expressed remorse. Even then, they have three further layers of legal recourse and can appeal the punishment. Failing that, they can take the matter to the European Union court of Human Rights to challenge the highest court of their own government.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By NellyFromMA on 8/19/2011 1:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
The sentencing is political. Granted, the attempt was poor morally and in many other respects, but 4 years for a facebook post that didn't actually materialize into an activity is absolutely, in my mind, just to appease the public. Currently, its my undertanding the parliament and police are undergoing a huge face-saving campaign right now for the public disdain at both the response and the events leading up to it (class issues, etc).

Society Fail.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By cannonac on 8/23/2011 5:15:47 AM , Rating: 2
See my other posts. There was a 'gathering' at the back and front of McDonald's in town. Only the large (for Northwich) police presence stopped anything happening.

Andy


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By Aloonatic on 8/19/2011 1:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
If this were a more complicated case, I might have some sympathy, but really, the evidence was right there in black and white. It's not like we're talking about a complicated financial confidence scam.

There have been concerns raised about access to council, which everyone has the right to, and whether that's being made abundantly clear to everyone, while sentences have been being handed out so fast. However, I'm not sure that even the most highly paid lawyer with the most imaginative defence (even one names after a star wars character) was going to get these guys off.

I don't think that anyone can argue with your point about everyone having the right to clear their name. They did, and still do. The thing is, in this case, I think even this pair had the bare minimum number of braincells between them to realise that trying to defend this case would be a futile endeavour.

4 years too harsh? Well, bear in mind that they are almost guranteed to be out in 2 years, as long as they aren't too much of a pain, wit in their cells quietly and play their xBoxes no their plasma screens, or watch films on their satellite TVs while they are in their cells.

The thing is. The courts are sending out a message with this pair, and others, who have been jailed over their parts in the rioting and looting. The point being that these large sentences will deter people from trying it on again any time soon, especially as many of the rioters/looters genuinely believed that they were untouchable, and had no fear of the law or that anything would be done to them even if they were caught.

I don't enjoy seeing people being jailed, but these guys (the majority of the rioters/looters, and even those who wanted to start it without actually carrying it out) might just be a little better of now that they realise that they are not above he law and that they are part of the greater society, contrary to what many of these people genuinely seem to think, according to several reports anyway.

Is this what happens all the time in the UK? Not really. People have been jailed for stealing a couple of scoops of ice-cream, but we do have a system in place to deal with appeals. One girl, who received a sentence for receiving a pair of shorts that were looted, has just had that over turned. In usual circumstances, I doubt that many of these cases would trouble the courts too much. This is a very different situation though, with very different reasons for sentencing.

When you see the footage of the looting and rioting, that these guys were trying to generate too, then maybe people will see that it's no trifling matter too.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By TSS on 8/19/2011 1:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
I recently saw a nice interview with a sociologist, about the difference between safety and security, and how people these days traded in liberty for more safety, but didn't gain more security which is what they really wanted. shame i can't find it.

Anyway, my personal take on the matter is that you don't get civil liberties, you earn them. And the way you earn them is by being responsible with said liberties.

Free speech doesn't automatically mean you can say whatever you want, whenever you want and however you want. Nor should it mean that, that is an radicalization and those are always bad. It means that as long as you act responsibly, you can say whatever you want without fear of legal reprocussions.

Big example: You can deny the holocaust ever happened. If you come with evidence, handle the subject with care, never become emotional and remain calm even though other people's emotions will flare up. If you do this you *can* have a civil debate wether or not it ever happened, without the fear of being prosecuted.

If you go to a memorial, on the 5th of may, in israel, during the minute of silence, and you yell out as loud as you can "**** ALL THE LIEING JEWS", you don't deserve your freedom of speech, and really not freedom at all until you've come to your senses. (notice how i have said that very sentance right now while probably offended very few people. It's called "context". that's handling freedom of speech with care).You might have a freedom of speech but not a freedom from responsibility.

IMO here justice was served. I'd even say they gotten off lucky. Because if their "joke" succeeded, they would've gotten life. They would've been the direct cause of more property damage then they could ever hope to repay, let alone the people hurt or maybe even killed in the process. 4 years is a proper time for not thinking about the consequences and how likely those consequences where to happen when the call was made. And they will serve as a fine example for other people calling for riots just so they can go riot.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By B3an on 8/19/2011 1:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Throwing these guys into lockup for such a long period of time for... speaking their mind should be thought of for a much longer period of time than less than two weeks


Actively trying to cause riots is not simply speaking your mind. And two weeks is more than enough time to decide if these two idiots are guilty or not. Which they clearly are, how can they not be? The evidence was there for all to see. People like this need to be dealt with with more sever penalties, people get off so easily for things in the UK, it's one of the reasons the riots existed in the first place because so many of the criminals involved are used to small consequences when they cause a crime.

4 years is a little harsh, but if the riots happened people could have ended up losing there jobs, homes or even lifes because of these two morons. But more to the point your post ends up being another typical "America is so great and everyone else sucks" post, to make you feel great about yourself, when your country is known around the world for giving unjust sentences and doing stuff like Guantanamo Bay. I dont see the the UK or any other first world country doing this.

I suspect so many of you like to say these things because in reality the U.S is nowhere near as good as it's occupants like to think which makes you insecure and gives you a need to say how great you are constantly. The U.S has the largest prison populations, highest gun crimes anywhere, less safety, lower quality of living standards than many first world countries (especially in some parts), less freedom of the press, and it wasn't that long ago when you still had slavery when other civilised countries had given that up long ago and were trying to make you stop it. Infact you still have a form of slavery, as over half of your prison population are forced to work and produce 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests. 46% of body armor. 36% of home appliances. 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers, and 21% of office furniture.
No wonder so many of you are in prison for years for such small crimes.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By sigmatau on 8/19/2011 2:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument sucks. Let me get this straight:

1. The world was doing just fine chugging along without Facebook/social media for thousands of years.
2. Technology advances and creates Facebook/social media.
3. No laws are made for this activity and is pretty much allowed to roam free and mature.
4. People start using Facebook/social media for negative things like asking for hit men, bullying (which I find silly but I grew up during a different time), and to incite riots.
5. The goverments around the world look to limit these types of activites, especialy inciting riots as they are becoming beyond catastrophic.
6. Some idiot on a forum screams that we are losing our rights that we never had for 99%+ of civilization's existance.

Really?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/19/2011 3:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
6. Some idiot on a forum screams that we are losing our rights that we never had for 99%+ of civilization's existance.


Our right to speak our minds? I'm doing it right now, so are you.

The only thing that is different here is the platform that it was being done on. The act itself (speaking an opinion in addition to inciting a riot) is the only difference. Re-read all of what I said, completely. Then let it soak in. Then you will comprehend what I'm getting at.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By sigmatau on 8/19/2011 3:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure what is your point? So you see the difference yet you still want to lump inciting riots as a right? What would Ben have said if he was alive now about inciting riots?


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By philosofa on 8/21/2011 7:55:57 PM , Rating: 1
Glad to see that once again an American who choses to be ignorant is willing to be condescending towards a country that has more in the way of civil liberies than their own. Perhaps instead of simply assuming ad-nauseum that your country is the most free, democratic, uncorrupt, innovative, blah blah blah, you could actually take a brief look around and inform yourself. Instead you've resorted to immediately (mis)quoting one of you founding fathers *epic yawn*. Here's a better quote for you:

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives"

Organising a riot (not a 'protest', a riot and looting spree) is both fundamentally stupid and criminal, in both the US and the UK. In your continued arrogance you assume that two weeks somehow is indicative of due process not being followed; It's actually quite a lot of time for a full jury trial for simpler and obvious crimes; like organising a riot openly. They were convicted by a jury of their peers in an open-and-shut case BECAUSE they bloody made an open facebook page to try and organise it. There's was no violation of civil liberies whatsoever, just a pair of really stupid criminals.

To sum up; how dare you write a bunch of complete arse about another country's legal system without knowing the first thing about the subject matter or even the case in question.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By MrBlastman on 8/22/2011 1:11:21 AM , Rating: 2
How dare? Dare I shall. I fart in your general foreign direction. ;)

In the United States we have free speech. I'll write all I want about it, thank you. Enjoy your spot across the pond.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By philosofa on 8/22/2011 5:14:20 AM , Rating: 1
Ahh sorry if what I wrote was a little complicated ;) I was asking 'how dare you talk a load of flag-waving arse?', not suggesting you didn't have the right to be let others know you're misinformed. Which you are chief, sorry.

I also don't live 'across the pond' (good guess, and even better quotation) but can still guarantee you there's more free speech there than there is in the US nowadays; more's the pity. Enjoy your spot across the Pacific.


RE: Anyone who is willing...
By cannonac on 8/22/2011 3:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
Well Blastman, when you have the evidence there in front of you, and the police interviews where they admit the offence, where is the problem in saving time and money in the rapid processing of the case?

I have a friend in the police in Northwich and he was on duty at the time this guy was trying to organise trouble in Northwich. Had the police not been deployed in numbers around Northwich town centre, there would have been trouble. He said that it would have only taken one person to have thrown a brick, smashed a window or abused police and the tinderbox would have gone up in flames!

So these two guys got exactly what they deserved. As for having no time to fight back against the charge, what was there to fight back against? They were guilty and had admitted it.

I also agree that they were sentenced as an example to others. However, when tehre are big political issues involved, and the weight of public opinion is on the side of big sentences, they stand no chance of having any leniency shown to them.

Andy


No one is giving up their civil liberties
By Beenthere on 8/19/2011 12:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly what should happen to those who commit crimes. No one has a right to incite a riot. Too bad they aren't forced to pay for all the damage and deaths caused by their actions.




RE: No one is giving up their civil liberties
By bupkus on 8/19/2011 1:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
What damage and deaths were caused by their actions?


By Beenthere on 8/19/2011 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
You don't get out much, read a paper or watch the news, do you? <LOL>


RE: No one is giving up their civil liberties
By deathwombat on 8/19/2011 1:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's true that they didn't actually cause riots, but consider this.

I disagree with attempted murder being a lesser crime than homicide. The law should try and sentence you as though you succeeded. You were trying to kill someone, so why should you get a break because you failed?

These guys didn't successfully cause riots, but what if they had? You can't give people a break just because their attempts fail. They were trying to cause damage and loss of property, so I say sentence them as though they succeeded.


RE: No one is giving up their civil liberties
By ShaolinSoccer on 8/19/2011 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They were trying to cause damage and loss of property, so I say sentence them as though they succeeded.


I agree. Except for one thing. This is evidence taken from a computer. We've seen how hackers can manipulate computers. They could easily set these guys up. These guys may be truly guilty but that doesn't leave out the fact of what hackers are capable of. Just something to keep in mind when prosecuting anyone of anything pertaining to information on a PC.


By Tiffany Kaiser on 8/19/2011 6:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
These guys may be truly guilty


While I agree that hackers can manipulate computers and set people up, these two men in particular plead guilty to the crime. So I don't think hackers are an issue here.


By Tiffany Kaiser on 8/19/2011 6:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
I should add that I get your point though...hackers could be an issue in other cases.


Unsure about this one but...
By Cloudie on 8/19/2011 6:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
My gut feeling is that in general the sentences being given are too harsh. For example, I read a few days ago that a man was jailed for 16 months because he stole a bag of doughnuts worth £19. The shop had already been broken into and was wide open so he didn't damage anything. It's still wrong and admittedly it wasn't the first time he'd been convicted of theft but nevertheless I'm sure people who rape and/or cause grievous bodily harm get at most 4 or 5 times this sentence. And the crimes are, in my opinion, worlds apart in their severity.

I feel the courts are succumbing to pressure from the public and MPs which is indeed a very dangerous precedent. Courts are there to provide justice, not to service the fickle whims of politicians.

As for being jailed 4 years for posting something on Facebook, well, in a way it's scary. But in all fairness this wasn't before or on the first night of the riots, it was well into it. Everyone knew what was going on and they really should have known better - we were only lucky nothing ultimately came of it. It was stupid and irresponsible, but 4 years for stupidity... that means most of the UK and EVERY politician can turn themselves in right now.




RE: Unsure about this one but...
By CrystalBay on 8/19/2011 8:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
I will say one thing . They sure have some bad ass surnames over there


RE: Unsure about this one but...
By YashBudini on 8/21/2011 6:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
a man was jailed for 16 months because he stole a bag of doughnuts worth £19.

I see a crime right here, what donuts could be worth 19 pounds?

Seriously the US can't financially punish this way, and ultimately I don't see how they can afford it either, in the long run. Having the perp perform 38 pounds worth of labor for the victim would be better for all.


By schlenker on 8/23/2011 8:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
The UK has old laws in place to stamp out any thought of rebellion; while the US was founded in rebellion and has more of an emphasis on freedom of speech. Not that the US hasn’t trampled on that freedom a few times over the last 200+ years if the government felt threatened.




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