Sussex Police criticised over Facebook riot trial
Published: 18th Nov 2011 10:36:37
The family of a man from East Sussex cleared of using Facebook to incite looting during this summer's riots has accused the police of over-reacting.
Nathan Sinden, of St Leonards, wrote "Let's start a riot in Hastings. Who's on it?" but jurors at Hove Crown Court on Thursday accepted he was joking.
His stepfather, Terry Hewlett, said Mr Sinden, 27, had been an "idiot" but the police investigation was unnecessary.
Sussex Police said any allegations of incitement would be investigated.
Jurors at Mr Sinden's two-day trial were told the defendant, who had previous convictions for theft, criminal damage and violence and disorder, also wrote: "Looting it is then today. Who's up for shopping?"
But he insisted he was joking and a jury took just 30 minutes to find him not guilty of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of burglary.
Mr Hewlett said: "He's an idiot, he's certainly not an angel, but all [the police] did was look at his previous, put two and two together and make six.
"I don't know what this has cost the taxpayer but if they had done their job properly it could have saved us all money."
In a statement, Sussex Police said the force respected the verdict of the court.
"The case has highlighted the use of social media sites during times of public disorder and any incidences of incitement will be robustly investigated by police and prosecuted through the courts," it read.
Conservative MP for Hastings, Amber Rudd, said the nationwide riots had been "very worrying" and police were right to investigate.
She said: "There are some places you don't make a joke because the consequences are so serious, so I think the police did the right thing."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Sussex Police criticised over Facebook riot trial [Online] (Updated 18th Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/203380/Sussex-Police-criticised-over-Facebook-riot-trial [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com