The well known journalist and anti-Islamisation activist Tommy Robinson was arrested, tried and sent to prison on May 26 2018 while live-streaming outside a court which is not NORMALLY illegal.
Tommy Robinson had (one year before) been arrested at his home in the middle of the night for live-streaming earlier that day outside Canterbury Court. During that live stream Tommy broke the technical British laws on NORMAL rules for reporting on court cases that are in progress. The UK chooses to protect Jurors from prejudicial information by drastically restricting the press, instead of drastically restricting the jurors access to the press (sequestration in the US).
During his live stream in Canterbury he did shout at the defendants going into court and call them Muslim pedo scum (or similar). He also failed to say “the defendants pleaded not-guilty and the case continues.” A “real” journalist would have done that.
His big mistake was to step into the courthouse while filming and that was a specific violation on all photography within the precincts of a court.
Tommy’s arrest, at home, in the middle of the night for committing an act of journalism, however, is unprecedented as far as I know. In any normal circumstances, especially for a non-violent crime, he should have been told, probably by phone, to hand himself in to a police station. He would have done that.
That Judge gave Tommy a 3 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months meaning that any significant further offence would activate that 3 months sentence. This only became public after the conviction of the Muslim pedophile gang who had gang raped a child above their restaurant and who had all been out on bail during the trial and continuing to run the same restaurant (it was this unreported detail Tommy was bringing attention to in his reporting).
This was my summary video about that case once all the details were made public (at the conclusion of the case).
MAY 2017 Tommy Robinson convicted of Contempt of Court and sentenced to 3 months in prison.
What happened in Leeds May 26, 2018
Skip forward to Leeds May 26 this year. Tommy was trying to follow every normal UK court rule about not assuming defendants are guilty, not photographing within the precincts (or even on the steps) of the court. He even knew that the specific case in Leeds court he was at had ADDITIONAL reporting restrictions whereby he was there to hear the verdict and sentencing of the 2nd trial of a set of 3. He knew that once he HEARD those details he couldn’t report those details until the conclusion of the 3rd trial later this year.
You can find the details of these ongoing trials, the names of the defendants and their charges on a number of mainstream and local news websites. If you read those out in public on a Facebook Livestream, it would appear you are guilty of the same contempt of court which sent Tommy Robinson to prison.
Following the Rules
After following what he thought were the rules for 1hr 15 mins, he was summarily arrested. This is my understanding of what happened next. He was given a court appointed defence lawyer, he was not given enough time to get his own legal representation to Leeds. The Judge did not review all of this stream, nobody explained specifically how he was in contempt of court but the Judge found him to be. He was persuaded to plead guilty though it’s not clear he knew to what he was pleading.
The Judge gave him a 10 month sentence, added that to the 3 month sentence from Canterbury, slapped a D-Notice on the entire proceedings (as an extension on the blanket ban on all reporting of his interconnected 3 trials and 29 defendant Muslim rape gang cases). Tommy was in Hull Prison by the end of the day and not given any time to talk to anyone.
Why are there secret courts operating in the UK? Tommy Robinson arrested, tried and imprisoned in a day
Tommy was in Hull Prison serving 13 months, 10 from the new conviction in Leeds and 3 from Canterbury. He was initially quite comfortable in the general population of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Hull but that didn’t last more than a couple of weeks. Tommy was summarily transferred to HMP Onley, somewhat closer to his family, but just before a weekend visit that had already been booked and was thus cancelled. HMP Onley, while a lower category of prison, expected to house less dangerous criminals than HMP Hull, does have a very high concentration of Muslim prisoners on the wings. Almost immediately Tommy had to request solitary confinement.
Meanwhile the story of Tommy Robinson’s imprisonment went viral. It was picked up by Tucker Carlson who featured it speaking to Katie Hopkins and Douglas Murray. Even Donald Trump Jr tweeted about. Tommy made reference to this in a letter which was sent just before he was moved from HMP Hull. Donald Trump’s Ambassador for religious freedom even raised Tommy’s case with the British Ambassador in Washington DC.
In addition to world wide acts of spontaneous demonstration (including one in Tel Aviv) Raheem Kassam, with funding from Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum (MEF) and others organised two huge demonstrations featuring a host of international speakers in London.
On July 18th Tommy’s legal team, which has been heavily supported by the crowd funding effort of his old boss Ezra Levant from Rebel Media, put forward his appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London. The case was heard by a three judge panel led by the Lord Chief Justice, the highest Judge in the land.
In a very welcome surprise move, the team appealed not just the sentence but both convictions: the original Canterbury conviction and the second one in Leeds.
The key aspects for me:
- Was the original reporting restriction by the Judge in Leeds lawful?
- Huge procedural problems with the conviction;
- Similar problems with the original Canterbury conviction;
- Deliberate mistreatment in the prison system;
- No similar treatment of a journalist in UK legal system recently.
This was my quick summary just after that appeal was put forward:
Tommy Robinson appeal update my thoughts so far #FreeTommy and drone shots of beach
Tommy Robinson Second Appeal update is the Leeds Judges reporting ban lawful?
Did the judge in Leeds make a huge mistake jailing Tommy Robinson? #FreeTommy
Where are we now?
The appeal judges have said they will be delivering their appeal verdict before the end of July. As of the time of writing this summary, that leaves Monday 30th or Tuesday 31st of July.
Follow me on Twitter and be sure to check back here for updates as soon as they come!