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Londoners receiving harsh sentences for riots

by Jorge Hernandez on August 17, 2011

More than a week after riots spread throughout London and other areas of England, courts are beginning to hand out harsh prison sentences to people involved. The Guardian reports that magistrate courts have handed over the sentencing duties to crown courts for the more severe punishment.

Among the most significantly jailed so far are a pair of men who were sentence to four years in prison for attempting to incite violence with Facebook groups. Despite the fact that their actions did not cause any rioting, 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan received the stiff penalty in large part because of the context in which it happened.

"The sentences passed down today recognize how technology can be abused to incite criminal activity, and send a strong message to potential troublemakers about the extent to which ordinary people value safety and order in their lives and their communities," Assistant Chief Constable Phil Thompson said, according to the news source. "Anyone who seeks to undermine that will face the full force of the law."

The sentencing has even been stiff for those who were not even directly involved in the rioting. In one case, a woman was given five months in prison for receiving a pair of shorts that had been looted. Additionally, one student was sentenced to six months for stealing just £3.50 worth of water bottles.

The swift response from Prime Minister David Cameron is not surprising given the scope of the riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people and injured 186 police officers. So far, 3,100 people have been arrested in connection with the riots, and according to the BBC around 1,100 of them have been charged.

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