The Tower of London


Jordan Blackshaw, 21, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22
Using Facebook to encourage disorder, sought to organise criminality similar to events elsewhere
Four years

Told friends on Facebook they should start rioting
12-month youth rehabilitation order, including ban on using social media. Curfew and 120 hours community work

David Glyn Jones
Posted message that appeared for 20 minutes declaring: “Let’s start Bangor riots”
Jailed for four months under the Communications Act

Posted message on Facebook encouraging vandalism of a shop during disorder
Escaped charge, apologised to the shop owner

Incited disorder on Facebook
Released after writing an open letter apologising to the city

Following the 2001 Bradford riots, the Court of Appeal said that the sentencing starting point for taking part in disturbances should be three years. But there are no specific sentencing guidelines for using social media to encourage a riot.

The Manchester men were jailed under the Serious Crime Act which says that encouraging an offence carries the same penalty as the crime itself. Both men pleaded guilty at the earlier opportunity, were shocked by the sentences and are expected to go to appeal.

David Glyn Jones in Bangor, where there were no disturbances, was charged with sending a malicious message under the Communications Act, punishable by up to six months in jail.

What we don’t know at the moment is how judges in other cities will react when the bulk of the cases come before them in the coming weeks.

The Manchester guidelines have been shared on the judiciary’s intranet – which means judges around the country will be aware of them. But the only sentencing decisions that really matter, in terms of setting precedent, are those made by the Court of Appeal.

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