Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 14:47 UK

Rappers guilty over internet song

Jason Johnson
The song went on the internet after the murder of Jason Johnson

Two rappers have been convicted of trying to scare off witnesses to the murder of a 24-year-old man in Ealing, west London in an internet song.

The jury at the Old Bailey heard the "chilling" song warned that people who talked to the police could be shot.

Ishmael McLean, 22, of Greenford, and Rowan Simon, 18, of Ealing, west London, were found guilty of acting to pervert the course of justice.

Ryan Esprit, 18, of Hanwell, west London, was found not guilty.

McLean and Simon were remanded in custody for sentence on 27 November and Judge Richard Hone warned they faced prison sentences.

Oliver Glasgow, prosecuting, said the video to the song was clearly intended to frighten people off from speaking to the police.

The clip, featuring a backing track, a chorus sung by several people and a burst of gunfire, had been placed on YouTube with links to MySpace and Facebook profiles.

It went on the internet following the murder of Jason Johnson, 24, in Ealing, west London, in November last year.

The two defendants were arrested in connection with the video in February of this year, when it was discovered by police.

YouTube release

McLean told police he wrote lyrics to "Wrong Team" but claimed it was only a gangster-rap.

The video had but one purpose - to threaten any witness to this incident to frighten them to such an extent that they would refuse to co-operate with the police
Oliver Glasgow, prosecutor

Mr Glasgow told the court two of the defendant's friends had been placed in custody, while the others had been bailed following the shooting.

He said: "Rather than wait for the police to conclude their enquiries they decided to take matters into their own hands.

"They wrote, recorded and released onto YouTube a rap music video in which they spoke of their hatred for the people who had spoken to the police.

"The video had but one purpose - to threaten any witness to this incident to frighten them to such an extent that they would refuse to co-operate with the police.

"They made it clear exactly what it was they wanted to do to them. Namely, kill them or to use their own words 'I can't wait for the snitch to drop, I still show up at his wake just to see him off'."

Mr Glasgow said a man claiming to be an eyewitness had been interviewed by police.

The defendants, without knowing the person's identity, sent out a message to the community with the rap, the court heard.

"Its connection to this case and its chilling message were immediately obvious to the officers," said Mr Glasgow.

He also said that eight people, including the defendants, were arrested but were not prosecuted, but the decision had nothing to do with the video.



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