Wakefield Teenager Cleared of Facebook 'Riot' Claims

30 November 2011, 14:34

A 19-year-old woman, who jokingly posted a message on her Facebook page encouraging people to riot in Wakefield, walked free from court after a judge directed a jury to acquit her.

A 19-year-old woman, who jokingly posted a message on her Facebook page encouraging people to riot in Wakefield, walked free from court after a judge directed a jury to acquit her.
Hollie Bentley posted the message on the social networking site on August 9 with the title ``Wakey Riot'', followed by the words ``Who's Up For It?''
It was alleged she was intending to encourage violent disorder in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, as looting and mayhem gripped other parts of the country during the summer. But the Recorder of Leeds, Peter Collier QC, told the jury to find her not guilty after hearing the message was a joke.
Leeds Crown Court was told Miss Bentley also posted the letters LMFAO on her Facebook page, which stands for Laughing My F****** Arse Off.
The judge told the jurors they could not be sure that at the time the message was posted she intended it to be taken seriously and directed the jury to find her not guilty.
Prosecuting, Richard Clews, said the case centred around the ``dark days'' of the summer when many British cities were gripped by violence.
He said Miss Bentley posted her message on her Facebook page from her bedroom with a proposed time and date and with a picture of Wakefield Cathedral.
The court was told several people responded to the message, with one telling her ``this is stupid'' and telling her to delete it. The jury heard Miss Bentley responded with ``You do know this is a joke, right?''
The prosecutor said the message was sent to more than 700 people and one of them, a 16-year-old youth, noticed the message and alerted his police officer brother.
Miss Bentley, from Hornbeam Avenue, Wakefield, denied encouraging people to commit violent disorder. The teenager, who is pregnant with her first child, showed no emotion as she was cleared.

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