Hollie Bentley at Wakefield Magistrates Court

Today I attended Hollie Bentley’s hearing at Wakefield Magistrate’s court.

I met Hollie and her family in the waiting room outside court number 1, where I chatted briefly to her mother. Clearly shaken and upset by the events of the last 2 weeks, the family were waiting for police to arrive to talk to them about violent threats which had been made against the family just the previous night at their home. Police were in attendance outside the court building and at Hollie’s home throughout the hearing, in order to protect her and her family from violent attack.

At commencement of the hearing, the court was told that Hollie’s home address was not to be published in light of the threats made against her and her family on the internet and in person at their home.

The hearing itself took less than half an hour. Hollie is charged with encouraging violent disorder against The Serious Crime Act 2007 after she created a Facebook event entitled “Wakey Riots”. The event was posted on the 9th of August, and was scheduled to take place on the 13-14th of August. Hollie also wrote in the event “Who’s up for it LMFAO.” It was not made clear whether this was written in the event description, or as a post to the event wall.

Hollie entered no initial plea.

The magistrate highlighted the lengthy prison sentences handed to previous people found guilty of this offence, and stated that it was beyond the powers of the magistrates court to sentence in this matter, referring it on to the Crown Court. She emphasised the serious of the charge, stating that “people died in the riots.”

Hollie Bentley was bailed to re-appear at Wakefield Crown Court on the 21st September.

These are the facts thus far. I’ll post some comment on it later.

5 thoughts on “Hollie Bentley at Wakefield Magistrates Court

  1. I can’t understand why the CPS are charging the Serious Crime Act here. Those provisions require a fairly robust burden of proof of intent. It’s quite clear that this Facebook event was not intended to be taken seriously. It was not taken seriously. David Glyn Jones, of Glasinfryn, Bangor, Gwynedd created an event not unlike this one and he was charged under the Communications Act 2003, a much less serious offence. It did not have to go to the Crown Court. All issues with the Communications Act aside, how could the CPS have felt they have satisfied the evidential stage of the Full Code test with this one? And yet, it looks like they have. A magistrate referred it on. Shocking.

  2. First of all, I think we have to give serious consideration to the idea that the courts are not giving proper scrutiny to riot offences at the moment. The whole attitude seems to be around the idea of quick, rough justice.

    Do you know what time the hearing is at the Crown Court? It’s conceivable I could make that (I work in Wakefield these days…)

    • I’ve got the time and the date. I’d be very pleased to see you there. Will email the details.

    • On the other point: yes, it seems to me that the courts are now assuming guilt rather than innocence. The onus appears to be on the accused to prove that they didn’t intend to cause a riot. This is completely orthogonal to the way the judicial process is supposed to be conducted.

      The language of the magistrate today implied that she was already assuming guilt. However the text of the post is not sufficient to determine guilt for the purposes this piece of legislation. Solicitors, Judges and Magistrates appear to have completely lost sight of this in this period of high speed “justice”.

  3. Pingback: Fear and Loathing in Wakefield: Hollie Bentley « PitKanary