Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shy 19 year old woman of good character could go to prison. LMFAO!

If you've read some of our recent posts then you may be familiar with the case of 19 year old Hollie Bentley from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. You may have also read or heard about the case in the news. If you did, then you would not have seen what is perhaps the most crucial piece of evidence in the case. The papers have been reporting that Bentley wrote the text "Who's up for it?" in some way referencing a Facebook event she'd created called "Wakey Riots". What the papers are not reporting for some reason is that at the end or her offending remark, she wrote "LMFAO". In case anyone is unaware of this particular text-speak, LMFAO is shorthand for "laughing my fucking arse off". The only place I've seen this reported is here, and that's only because the author was at the hearing and heard the evidence read out.

I don't know why news outlets would choose not to print that little nugget, but I do know it adds nuance to the story. Here's what LMFAO means to me in this context. Hollie Bentley believes, quite rightly I suspect, that the notion of a riot on the high street of Wakefield, West Yorkshire is absurd. That's the crux of the joke right there. It may have other hidden meaning. For example, it is boldly laughing at a prospect that is terrifying, which is a sort of affected bravado. I suppose we'll have to ask Hollie Bentley what she meant when she wrote that. She should do a little soul searching and think carefully about the answer. Her personal liberty depends on it. LMFAO! :(


  1. If magistrates had accepted jurisdiction, would Hollie have elected crown court trial ?

  2. Doubtful she would have elected a Crown Court trial to start with. It's more expensive and would be wasting a go. At any rate, the magistrates could not retain jurisdiction for such a serious offence (not "triable either way"), although I believe they could throw it out if they felt there was really no case to answer.

  3. Thanks. I thought she had been charged with an e/w offence. I see now that it is a charge about assisting in violent disorder which I assume is indictable only, though I would be interested to know the exact wording of the charge, which doesn't seem to have been reported. If it had been e/w then jurisdiction should definitely have been retained in mags court.

  4. It is most likely section 44 of the Act (Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence):
    Sections 45 and 46 are similar, although the burden of proof is slightly different. The difference appears to be one of intention versus belief. In that way it seems to me that 44 has the lower threshold. She hasn't specified any particular actions to be performed so I don't think 46 could apply anyway. Section 47 explains how an offence under these sections needs to be proven: