Fourth man cleared of 'Facebook' riot charges
Thursday 16 February 2012
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.
Kensington flat branded ‘uninhabitable’ by estate agent on sale for a bargain £600,000
Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
- 1 Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
- 2 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 4 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- 5 Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
- < Previous
- Next >