Neo-Nazi ordered to read Jane Austen is jailed for two years

Neo-Nazi ordered to read Jane Austen jailed for two years

A man described by police as a “white supremacist with a neo-Nazi ideology” has been jailed for two years after judges overturned his “unduly lenient” sentence.

Ben John, 22, received a 24-month sentence for possessing a terrorist document in August, meaning he would not be jailed unless he broke the conditions of a Serious Crime Prevention Order.

The Lincolnshire man was found to have a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook on his computer hard drive, alongside 67,788 documents in bulk downloads onto hard drives, which contained a wealth of white supremacist and anti-Semitic material.

At the time, Judge Timothy Spencer QC urged him to swap far-right propaganda for classic English literature, asking John: “Have you ever read Dickens? Austen? Well, start now. Start with Pride and Prejudice. Shakespeare? Try Twelfth Night. Dickens, start with A Tale of Two Cities and, if you have time, think about Hardy and think about Trollope.”

As well as the suspended two-year sentence, he was handed a a one-year extended licence and a five-year Serious Crime Prevention Order.

However, Court of Appeal judges found that the sentence was unlawful and have sent John to prison for two years.

He was ordered to hand himself in at a police station by 4pm on Thursday, when he will be taken into custody.

Judges found the sentence unlawful because under the Sentencing Code, sentences of more than two years cannot be suspended, and John’s total term amassed to three years.

Lord Justice Holroyde said: “It is because the term was unlawful that we conclude it was unduly lenient.”

Speaking after the hearing, Solicitor General, Alex Chalk QC MP, who personally presented the case to appeal judges, said: “The Government is committed to confronting terrorism in all its forms, including from the Extreme Right Wing.

“We remain focussed on disrupting the activities of the most dangerous extremists, supporting those who stand up to their hateful rhetoric, and protecting vulnerable people being drawn into terrorism,” he continued.