York student jailed over London riots
11:36am 8th July 2011
A York student's been jailed for a year for being part of a violent mob who protested in London over the Government spending cuts.
20 year old Francis Fernie from Clifton threw two long sticks at police on March 26th 2011.
He was a A-Level politics student at York College, and had hoped to start a science degree in Sheffield, but that dream is now shattered.
Judge Nicholas Price QC told Fernie:
"I have duty not only to punish those who inflict violence on the police, but also to deter others from behaving in such a way."
“I have no doubt you came down from York to London with sincerely held views and with the initial intention of demonstrating peacefully.
“I have no doubt you were indeed caught up in the heat of the moment.”
"The right to peaceful demonstration was a “hallmark” of this country’s democracy. But the courts have a duty not only to punish those who inflict violence or acts of fear on the public or inflict violence on the police, but also to deter others from behaving in such a way.”
Fernie repeatedly wiped his eyes as he was jailed.
He'd previously worked for a range of charities and good causes, including Oxfam, York Environment Centre, Snappy and the Brunswick Nursery, a gardening organisation for people with learning disabilities.
He had pleaded guilty to violent disorder after handing himself in to police in Leeds following the national release of his face on a CCTV image.
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