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15 August 2011
COLCHESTER, Essex, Great Britain -- In an effort to reassure the British public that law and order will continue to prevail, a Colchester man has been arrested on charges of conspiring to start a water fight. The water fight was allegedly planned with Facebook and the Blackberry messenger service.
The unnamed man, who will appear before magistrates on 1 September, has been charged with "encouraging or assisting in the conspiracy to suggest the possible commission of an offence" under the 2007 Serious Business Crime Act, as well as "all of the aforementioned, only on a computer." A second unnamed man was also arrested, but was released without charge.
The recent riots in London have shaken the populace's confidence in police forces, who experienced difficulty in containing the rioters and looters. Additionally, because the rioters used services such as SMS texting, Facebook, and Twitter to coordinate, the UK government is considering under what circumstances, if any, would it be acceptable to shut down social networking services in the name of national security. Additionally, advisers from China have been shipped in for their expert advice on shutting down social networks in the name of civil order.
"If a terrorist or criminal uses a service to coordinate or plot, that service is liable," prime minister David Cameron said. "We will not hesitate to apply the law to its full extent against those who would threaten the peace."
Water fights have been a scourge of British society for years. In 2009, an elderly Edinburgh woman, and her cat Fluffles, were accidentally splashed during a neighborhood water fight held by children and teenagers. Despite her hours of demented ranting and raving, the woman did not press charges.
- Shiv Malik "Essex police charge man over water fight planned on Blackberry Messenger". The Guardian, August 15, 2011