Jail terms upheld for British Facebook rioters

19th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Two men who attempted to use social networking site Facebook to incite riots during August's unprecedented civil disorder in Britain on Tuesday both lost appeals against their four-year jail terms.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, from Cheshire and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, from Warrington, both in northwest England, were imprisoned after setting up Facebook pages calling for unrest in their home towns.

However, three men who were jailed after admitting handling stolen goods during the riots had their sentences halved by the court of appeal.

Igor Judge, the lord chief justice, called the level of lawlessness "shocking and wholly inexcusable" and stressed that severe sentences "must follow" to serve as both punishment and deterrent.

"The context hugely aggravates the seriousness of each individual offence," he added. "The sheer numbers involved may have led some of the offenders to believe that they were untouchable and would escape detection."

Judge, along with fellow ruling judges John Thomas and Brian Leveson, said it was therefore correct to hand out sentences "beyond the range in the guidelines for conventional offending".

Blackshaw's page, "Smash Down Northwich Town", encouraged people to gather "behind maccies" -- believed to be the McDonald's restaurant in Northwich town centre.

Sutcliffe-Keenan's creation, "Let's Have a Riot in Latchford", called for people to riot the following day.

Judge highlighted technology's power to enable "the rapid movement and congregation of disorderly groups in new and unpoliced areas," calling it a "sinister aspect" of the riots.

© 2011 AFP

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