No court action over vandalism call
Wednesday 17 August 2011
A teenager who posted messages on Facebook encouraging people to vandalise a shop at the height of last week's riots has avoided facing court.
The treatment of Joshua Moulinie is in stark contrast to that of Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan who were both sentenced to four years custody at Chester Crown Court yesterday.
They had used the social networking site to encourage rioters to destroy their local towns - although no disturbances actually took place.
Similarly Mr Moulinie had posted a message on his Facebook wall urging people to damage the Spar store in his home town of Bream, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.
But instead of facing the courts the 19-year-old was told to write a letter of apology to the shop owner by way of punishment.
The teenager has since posted defiant comments on Facebook, saying he was not sorry for the remarks he made.
"It was a very, very blatant joke, I'm not sorry at all for it," he wrote.
"I'm sorry for the reaction it caused, but not for the action. Also can I make it very clear I never intended to riot?
"The police are sound. I have no problems whatsoever with them, they didn't even charge me."
Blackshaw, of Northwich, Cheshire, had created a Facebook event, entitled "Smash Down Northwich Town".
Sutcliffe-Keenan, of Warrington, also set up a Facebook page, encouraging disorder in his suburb of his home town called "Let's Have a Riot in Latchford".
Both men pleaded guilty to intentionally encouraging another to assist the commission of an indictable offence under sections 44 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.
The sentences handed out to the pair were the lengthiest so far given to those involved in the rioting that swept through London and other English towns and cities last week.
Mr Moulinie describes himself as having a "warped sense of humour" and said that he found his arrest amusing.
"I'm not a trouble maker, nor am I violent. Unfortunately, I've got a pretty warped sense of humour," he wrote on Facebook.
"I find the whole thing pretty funny to be honest with you. Especially them forcing me to write a status saying I've been arrested."
The post inciting people to riot has since been removed from his profile.
Sergeant Richard Pitman, of Gloucestershire Police, said a report of the message had been received on August 10.
"Once the initial message was posted on Facebook, there were responses posted from people saying they would go along with the suggestion to damage the shop," he said.
"Naturally when this was brought to the shop owner's attention by another member of the public he was concerned and contacted us.
"We identified the person responsible for starting the comments and went to his address and arrested him for inciting violence.
"After taking him to Coleford police station we decided to deal with him by way of a Community Orientated Policing outcome, which was for him to write a letter of apology to the shop owner and remove the posting.
"We feel it was a very foolish thing for him to do, and it was very worrying for the victim, particularly in light of events seen nationally earlier this week.
"I think this should act as a warning to others that what they post on sites like Facebook is not only distressing and worrying for others, but it could lead to police action and they may later end up seriously regretting their hasty postings."
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