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West Suffolk: Facebook riot teen was ‘idiot’

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 August 2011

A teenager has appeared in court after posting a Facebook message urging friends to riot

A teenager has appeared in court after posting a Facebook message urging friends to riot

Archant

A TEENAGER from west Suffolk who posted a message on Facebook urging friends to riot has admitted he was an ‘idiot’.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted sending an offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing message by public communication network at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Magistrates imposed a ban on identifying the youth after fears were voiced he could face retribution from members of the public for his comments.

The teen, who lives in a village outside Bury St Edmunds, posted the controversial text on the social networking site on Tuesday morning, in the wake of a night of brutal rioting in London.

“I think we should start rioting,” he wrote. “It’s about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about and ruining this country.

“I think it’s about time we stood up for ourselves for once so come on rioters, get some.”

Sarah-Jane Atkins, prosecuting, told the court friends of the teenager had swiftly hit out at his words, claiming he was not very intelligent to have made such comments.

“Within minutes, his friends on Facebook are condemning the words he has posted and telling him in no uncertain terms what a poor opinion they now have of him,” Miss Atkins said.

In response, the boy then posted a second message, saying he didn’t see the point of being pushed around by the police all the time.

The boy then entered into a debate with one friend in particular over the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham on August 4 before admitting his comments had been ‘stupid’.

“We are all thankful that his friends were much more sensible than he was and did not react in any way that would lead to further comments in any shape or form,” Miss Atkins told the court.

In police interview, the boy said he had only made the comments to ‘have a laugh’ and didn’t intend anyone to take the actions he had suggested.

David Stewart, in mitigation, said the boy had since realised he had been ‘inordinately foolish’ and recognised what an idiot he had been.

“His friends have a very poor opinion of him and he has a very poor opinion of himself,” Mr Stewart said.

“A lesson has been learnt.”

Mr Stewart said the boy, who appeared in the dock with his mother, came from a stable family home and had co-operated fully with police.

Magistrates adjourned proceedings for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on the teen ahead of his sentencing at Bury Youth Court on Wednesday, August 17.

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