Fourth man cleared of 'Facebook' riot charges

 

A fourth man has been cleared of encouraging rioting or looting via Facebook during last August's civil disturbances.

Christopher Milligan, 26, of Nelson, Lancashire, was accused of intentionally encouraging or assisting rioting through a post on the social networking website.

On August 9 he was said to have wrote : "Riot alert, meeting Duke Bar 8pm. Faces covered, weapons advised, come on peeps."

Milligan, formerly known as Schofield, was cleared by a jury at Lancaster Crown Court earlier this week after it deliberated for just over 90 minutes.

His acquittal follows the same verdicts recently delivered against Karl Manley, 28, Stefan Johnson, 22, and Warren Calvert, 19, who all posted similar messages but argued they were merely joking and did not believe any trouble would take place.

Their fate contrasted with that of Jordan Blackshaw, 21, from Northwich, Cheshire, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, from Warrington, Cheshire, who last year were each jailed for four years for inciting riots on Facebook.

Both men pleaded guilty to encouraging crime in their home towns, although there were no outbreaks of disorder in either location.

Blackshaw's lawyers claimed he was joking.

Their sentences were later upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Friends Manley and Johnson wrote online: "PC World Lancaster, 7.30pm. Let the looting begin. Could do with a new laptop!!!!"

Manley, from Heysham, updated his Facebook status with the message after watching the widespread disorder throughout London on television.

It was then copied by Johnson, from Lancaster, who put the same posting on to his account.

A police support unit and community beat officers were sent to the retail outlet after the message was posted at lunchtime on August 9 but no troublemakers showed up in the evening and no incidents took place.

Both were acquitted last week at Lancaster Crown Court of encouraging or assisting an offence of burglary to be committed, which they believed would happen or would be encouraged.

The jury took 30 minutes in reaching its decision.

The week before in a separate trial, Calvert, 19, of Heysham, told Preston Crown Court he too was joking when he issued an invitation on Facebook to start a riot last August.

The jury in his case took less than 10 minutes to find him not guilty of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

PA

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?