Two sent to jail for swearing

Article published: Friday, August 12th 2011

Manchester Magistrates Court has so far sentenced two men to prison terms after they were arrested and convicted of swearing during the disturbances in the city on Tuesday night.

Jason Ullett, 39, of Ancoats, was sentenced to ten weeks in prison for swearing at police officers. Ricky Gemmell, 18, was sentenced to four months in youth custody for “ranting and swearing at police”. In June, it was reported that police officers were told that “courts do not accept police officers are caused harassment, alarm or distress by words such as: fuck, cunts, bollocks, wankers”, and were told to cease arresting people just for verbal insults.

The sentencing came as part of the “fast track” court procedures that have taken place across the country since the rioting at the beginning of the week. Magistrates Courts hear cases for minor offences, such as public order offences, and those in cities affected by the riots have been working uninterrupted to deal with the backlog. More serious offences are handed on to Crown Courts.

Gemmell pleaded guilty to telling officers during the riot: “I’d smash you if you took your uniform off” before being pinned to the ground and arrested. The call centre worker, who applied to join the army earlier in the year, maintained that he was only in the city centre to visit his girlfriend.

His mother, who was made redundant earlier this year from a job with the council, told reporters: “You do have a bit of trouble with gangs. He has never been involved with any of it. I’ve had a copper say to me, he’s so chuffed that my lads have never been in trouble. He’s not ‘known by the police’ whatsoever.

“He hasn’t hit anyone. He hasn’t robbed anything. He was verbally abusive. He knows – you run your mouth, there’s a consequence. But the consequence they gave him, it’s disgusting.”

Analysis in the Guardian of a partial list of those appearing in Magistrates Courts across the country has shown that 60% of them are being held on remand. Last year, the figure was only 3.5%. Very few were granted bail or given fines, even when they had pleaded guilty to minor offences. A magistrate has noted that if the non-granting of bail is being used as an early form of punishment, then “it is not only wrong, but illegal”.

Elsewhere, a Londoner who pleaded guilty to taking a bottle of water worth £3.50 “because he was thirsty” while walking past a looted shop on his way home from his girlfriend’s house has been sentenced to the maximum six months in jail. By comparison, Jim Divine, the former MP sentenced to eighteen months for fraudulently claiming £8,000 during the expenses scandal was released after serving four months.

Tom Fox





More: Manchester, News


  1. Let’s face it Ullet and Gemmell were not sent down (at inordinate cost during a time of cuts) because of their swearing alone. I’m sure it’s because of their social class accent.

    Although Jim Devine does have a distinct accent, it is pleasantly different and he doesn’t say “in’it?”.

    These distinctions, plus his being an elected representative are clearly of importance in dispensing justice. What sort of state do people think we are in?

    Comment by Darren Mackenzie on August 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm
  2. […] Two sent to jail for swearing […]

    Pingback by Cant, Hypocrisy and the British Riots of 2011 « Political World on August 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm
  3. Well I hope that Gorton women doesn’t live in Council or social housing as it seems ‘equality before the law’ doesn’t include such people who are to be doubly punished if they or their sons and daughters get into trouble in the City centre by being made homeless!! This according not just to pigrich Cameron but also numerous Tory and Labour Councilors. In Manchester you could get made redundant by the Council and made homeless on top of fines and prison. The political and business establishment are out for vengeance and no mistake.If this doesn’t make even more people angry enough to do more than write letters of protest what will?

    Comment by Mike on August 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm
  4. Freedom for ursula nevin

    Comment by Dave on August 14, 2011 at 8:38 am
  5. Have you got more on the person who’s been jailed for the water bottle?

    Comment by Alex on August 14, 2011 at 9:06 am
  6. What does the fact that his mum was recently made redudndant from the council have to do with any of this?

    And why did a policeman have to tell this woman he was ‘chuffed’ that her son had never been in trouble?

    I’ve never been in trouble and no copper has ever told my mum how chuffed he is about that fact.

    If police officers had to go round to visit every parent of non-criminal children to say how chuffed they were then there’s be no time for them to do anything else.

    Comment by simon on August 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm
  7. I would interested to know your source for the bottle of water sentence. I’ve heard/read the ‘six months for a bottle of water’ thing in a few places now.

    Comment by Samantha Bradey on August 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm
  8. […] not have been genuinely intent on causing violence, but in that case is he any different from the two young men jailed for swearing during the riots? The answer is most likely the fact that he has a steady job […]

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  9. […] is clearly one set of rules for a Tory Posh Boy Public School Twit and another for the rest of us -PROOF. Funny old world. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry […]

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  10. […] […]

    Pingback by Should he resign ? - Page 3 - I don't feel 50 Forums on September 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm
  11. […] “ranting and swearing” at police during last year’s disturbances in the city. According to Manchester Mule the youngster had never been in trouble before.  His mother said at the time:  “He […]

    Pingback by One Law For One | FavStocks on September 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

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