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'An act of teenage folly': A white supremacist in the UK has been sentenced to read Pride and Prejudice, other classic novels

By AYIE LICSI Published Sep 01, 2021 2:39 pm

After being found guilty of terrorism offenses, 21-year-old Ben John has been sentenced to read classic novels like Pride and Prejudice instead of potentially facing jail time.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC told John that he could stay out of prison if he steered clear of white supremacy literature. The nazi sympathizer was told to read books and plays by Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, and Charles Dickens, and every four months, the judge will quiz him on the readings.

"On January 4 you will tell me what you have read and I will test you on it," Judge Spencer said at the sentence hearing on Aug. 31. "I will test you and if I think you are [lying to] me you will suffer."

"I will be watching you, Ben John, every step of the way. If you let me down you know what will happen."

John was identified as a terror risk days after his 18th birthday. He was found guilty of possessing right-wing documents, anti-Semitic materials, and a manual for making bombs on Aug. 11, which supposedly had a 15-year-maximum jail sentence. The former De Montfort University student amassed 67,788 documents in total, also read extensively about the nazis, and wrote about hating gay people, immigrants, and liberals.

He received a 24-month sentence, suspended for two years and a five-year Serious Crime Prevention Order allowing the police to monitor his online activity and requiring him to stay in touch.

The LincolnshireLive said John failed to respond to warnings in the past, citing how he has been on the authorities' radar since January 2018.

Judge Spencer previously told the 21-year-old he was now a "convicted terrorist."

The terrorist material he was found in possession of is extremely dangerous, and he acquired this to further his ideology," said Counter Terrorism Policing East Midlands Detective Inspector James Manning.

"It was not light reading, or material most would concern themselves with for legitimate reasons. This has been a long and complex investigation over the course of 11 months.”