Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Rappers jailed over warning song

Jason Johnson
The song was published on the internet after the murder of Jason Johnson

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

The video warned people who talked to police about the murder of Jason Johnson could be shot.

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

McLean was jailed for four years and Simon was jailed for 30 months.

McLean was also sentenced to a year in jail for possessing ammunition, the term to run concurrently.

Message to community

The clip entitled "Wrong Team", featured a backing chorus sung by several people with a burst of gunfire.

It was placed on YouTube with links to MySpace and Facebook profiles.

It was published on the internet following the murder of Mr Johnson, from Ealing, in November last year.

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

Eight people, including McLean and Simon, were arrested following Mr Johnson's shooting but were not prosecuted.

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 by publishing the rap on the internet.

'Grim prospect'

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

"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'."

Old Bailey Judge Richard Hone said the lyrics meant: "Those who went chitter-chattering to police were themselves in danger of being shot."

He said police investigating gun crime were faced with a code of silence.

"It is a grim prospect for British justice," the judge added.

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