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Judge Sentences Extremist to Read Better Literature

A 21-year-old in England was sentenced to start with Pride and Prejudice
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2021 4:10 PM CDT
Judge: Put Down the Extremist Articles and Read the Classics
A judge ordered a man convicted of amassing far-right literature to pick up a good book instead.   (Suzy Hazelwood/Pexels.com)

(Newser) – It’s probably not the first time someone told Ben John to read a book already. John, 21, was recently sentenced to read something more enriching than white supremacist literature or a recipe for making a bomb, Vice reports. He was found guilty of possession of information useful for preparing an act of terror, the Guardian reports. That’s illegal in the UK under the Terrorism Act. But Judge Timothy Spencer gave him a break, figuring he was just a kid. John had been downloading literature like a Ph.D. candidate researching a dissertation—almost 70,000 documents.

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Spencer told John at his sentencing hearing, “You are a lonely individual with few if any true friends,” which is a sick burn for sure but a pretty mild description of a Nazi sympathizer. John also got a suspended jail sentence, a five-year serious crime prevention order, and will be monitored by police in person and online.

The judge then told him that if he likes reading so much, he should try something a little more positive, maybe a classic of English literature. “Start with Pride and Prejudice and Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.” All solid recommendations for such a big reader. Spencer apparently is hoping this kid will turn it around. “He is by no means a lost cause and is capable of living a normal, pro-social life,” he said. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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