Judge Elgan Edwards QC has dished out some serious Arsehole Justice against the defendants Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw in Chester Crown Court. These two men were charged with inciting unrest under sections 44 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Both men received 4 years in prison for creating Facebook pages that appeared to be organizing riots in their local communities, neither of which resulted in any actual disorder and at least one of which was regarded as a joke by its author.
According to the Guardian article linked to above, Judge Edwards stated in his judgement that Blackshaw had committed an "evil act". He said: "This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation..." [Flay here] Erm, actually I think that's what's happening now. "...You sought to take advantage of crime elsewhere and transpose it to the peaceful streets of Northwich. The idea revolted many right thinking members of society. No one actually turned up due to the prompt and efficient actions of police in using modern policing." [Flay here] Or maybe no one took it seriously except for the police. Hard to say.
About Sutcliffe-Keenan, the judge said he "caused a very real panic" and "put a very considerable strain on police resources in Warrington." [Flay here] I'd like to see the evidence of who was panicking. I wouldn't be surprised if it was only the police. The author of the page went to bed and woke up with a hangover, apologized, took the page down and said it had been a joke (sound familiar?). Neither of the two men caused a riot to take place. Nothing happened. You can credit the police for their swift actions; however, one would have thought that perhaps it would be better to use this information to try to catch potential rioters in the act. At any rate, four years after pleading guilty makes a mockery of justice. People serve less time for manslaughter. These guys wrote some words on a web site that caused nothing to happen except a police investigation. What really bothers me about this is that it is a natural response in human beings who are in denial about terrible things going on around them to make make light of the situation. Some of that may have been what happened here. For that reason and others, this seems like a clear case of Arsehole Justice.