It seems that many so-called “alt-right” individuals, groups and sources are trying to paint the arrest of Tommy Robinson in England last week as an attack on the right of free speech in formerly Great Britain. I’m not convinced.
The bare facts of the matter are well-known. Mr. Robinson (who has a not inconsiderable prior arrest and conviction record) last year tried to film, and publicly challenge, Muslim defendants in a rape trial.
Tommy Robinson, who appeared under his real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had arrived at Canterbury Crown Court as evidence was still being given.
Claiming to work for the Canadian-based online Rebel Media, he walked through the concourse intending to confront the defendants.
But Robinson, whose right-wing beliefs are broadcast on the Internet, was given a judicial ear-bashing about British laws.
Judge Heather Norton told him: “This is not about free speech… not about the freedom of the Press, nor about legitimate journalism, and not about political correctness.
“It is about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly..it’s about being innocent until proven guilty.
“It is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated..or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate “reporting”, if that’s what it was.”
. . .
Yaxley-Lennon was later arrested for being in contempt of court because it’s an offence to make videos or take photographs inside court.
He was ordered to appear in front of Canterbury’s top judge, when he then apologised for his breach of the ruling.
The 34-year-old, from Luton, was given a three-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months…
There’s more at the link. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
At the time, Robinson’s supporters tried to claim that his arrest and (suspended) sentence were violations of his right to free speech. They were not, as the judge made clear. He violated British laws, he ignored common practice concerning interfering with defendants and/or witnesses in a criminal trial, and he arguably jeopardized the defendants’ right to a fair trial by his conduct. I have no issue with the sentence given him.
Unfortunately, it seems Mr. Robinson did not learn his lesson. While still under his suspended sentence, he engaged in similar behavior last week.
Tommy Robinson … has been jailed for 13 months after live-streaming outside a criminal trial in violation of reporting restrictions, a court said Tuesday.
Robinson, a pseudonym of 35-year-old Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arrested Friday at Leeds Crown Court in northern England, where he was broadcasting details of an ongoing trial on Facebook.
The trial is covered by restrictions on what can be reported while it’s underway — a common practice in Britain, designed to protect the impartiality of the jury.
Judge Geoffrey Marson told Robinson that his actions could be “highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trial.” He said Robinson had broadcast details of the defendants and the charges they face, including some wrong information.
Robinson was earlier convicted of contempt of court in May 2017 for broadcasting at a rape trial and given a three-month suspended sentence. The judge in that case told him that he would be imprisoned if he committed “a further contempt of court by similar actions.”
Robinson pleaded guilty on Friday to contempt of court and breaching the terms of his suspended sentence. He also has previous convictions for assault, fraud and other offenses.
The judge in Leeds imposed a reporting restriction on Robinson’s latest conviction, but it was successfully challenged Tuesday by media outlets.
Again, more at the link: and, again, bold underlined text is my emphasis.
Let’s highlight a few important points.
- Mr. Robinson pleaded guilty. In other words, he knew what he had done, and that it was illegal. No legal defense was possible.
- His arrest was temporarily subjected to restrictions on reporting by the judge in the Leeds case, on the grounds that drawing attention to it might prejudice the rights of the defendants in that case to a fair trial. It was not a permanent “gagging order” on the press, but a temporary restriction until the trial was over; and it has since been withdrawn. Far too many fringe reports failed to make that clear.
- His arrest and conviction were entirely legal under the laws of Britain. Those laws would not apply here in the USA, but Mr. Robinson was not and is not in the USA. There’s no point in attacking those laws from outside their jurisdiction. It’s for Britain and its citizens to decide for themselves the laws – and the legal system – that they want.
- The demonstrations supporting Mr. Robinson were largely organized and orchestrated by far-right-wing groups who share his views. They were not “popular demonstrations against restrictions on free speech” in his case. I agree that, in terms of US law, he would probably not have faced arrest or prosecution for his actions, but he was not in the USA. He cannot claim or expect US rights and freedoms in a country that does not recognize them in the same form, or as extensively. Just as Britain can’t dictate to the US how we should organize and govern our legal system, we can’t do that to them, either.
On the other hand, I believe Mr. Robinson is absolutely correct in claiming that the British authorities have, for years, given a “free pass” to organized Muslim gangs engaged in the rape and organized prostitution of British women. The evidence for that is overwhelming, as even a cursory Internet search will reveal. I think the problem – and the reason for the British authorities’ antipathy towards Mr. Robinson – has been best summed up by Douglas Murray.
… every month brings news of another town in which gangs of men (almost always of Pakistani origin) have been found to have raped young, often underage, white girls. The facts of this reality — which, it cannot be denied, sounds like something from the fantasies of the most lurid racist — have now been confirmed multiple times by judges during sentencing and also by the most mainstream investigative journalists in the country.
But the whole subject is so ugly and uncomfortable that very few people care to linger over it. Robinson is an exception. For him … the “grooming gangs” issue isn’t something that afflicts some far-off towns but people in the working-class communities that he knows. And while there are journalists … who have spent considerable time and energy bringing this appalling phenomenon to light, most of British society has turned away in a combination of embarrassment, disgust, and uncertainty about how to even talk about this.
. . .
Robinson would not now be in jail if he had not once again accosted defendants in an ongoing trial outside the courthouse. He had been told by a judge last May not to do this and yet he did this again … it is an offense to which Robinson understandably pleaded guilty. More important, the trial that was coming to a close last Friday is just one part of a trial involving multiple other defendants. It is certainly possible that Robinson’s breaking of reporting restrictions at the Leeds trial could have prejudiced those trials. To have caused the collapse of such a trial would have been more than a blunder; it would have been an additional blow to victims who deserve justice.
. . .
The whole affair is in many ways maddening. Maddening that Robinson stepped over a line that had been very clearly drawn for him. Maddening that he gave the police and courts a legitimate reason to arrest him. And maddening because, as he must have known … it is by now abundantly clear that every arm of the British state has been out to get Tommy Robinson from the moment he emerged on the scene in Luton a decade ago.
The problem — as I said in 2015 — is that any challenge Robinson presents is all a secondary issue. The primary issue is that for years the British state allowed gangs of men to rape thousands of young girls across Britain. For years the police, politicians, Crown Prosecution Service, and every other arm of the state ostensibly dedicated to protecting these girls failed them. As a number of government inquires have concluded, they turned their face away from these girls because they were terrified of the accusations of racism that would come their way if they did address them. They decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation.
By contrast, Tommy Robinson thought it was worth the aggravation, even if that meant having his whole life turned upside down.
More at the link, and worthwhile reading, too.
The attitudes of Third World men – not just Muslims, but those of other faiths and cultures, too – towards Western women, and the crimes that result, are a major problem in many European countries. To give only a few examples, see these articles:
- ‘Cologne is every day’: Europe’s rape epidemic
- I’ve Worked with Refugees for Decades. Europe’s Afghan Crime Wave Is Mind-Boggling.
Nor are such attitudes and problems confined to Europe. One such incident occurred in California this week. Note the names of the offenders (which most reports have carefully failed to mention), and the fact that police have not yet released the mugshots of the offenders (obviously in an attempt to prevent racial accusations from being made). I agree with the police’s caution in this matter – they are almost certainly correct in their obvious expectation that extremists will try to make political or social capital out of the racial differences involved – but that doesn’t mean we should not face facts. If we don’t, we’re simply dooming ourselves to repeat Britain’s problems, stemming from that nation’s blinkered approach to the issues involved.
The way to deal with cultural and racial conflict issues is not to obscure them, not to “paper over the cracks” in an attempt to deny that they exist, but to be honest about them. Truth will out, one way or another: and if Big Brother and/or its agents try to hide the truth out of political correctness, or expediency, or anything else, it will come out some other way – one that they cannot control. That’s what gave rise to Mr. Robinson and others like him in Britain. Tragically, it’s also what has given rise to similar movements in this country – witness, for example, Charlottesville last year.
We dare not allow political correctness or cultural relativism to hide or obscure the truth, in this country or anywhere else. However, we must also ensure that we don’t add to the problem – as, sadly, Mr. Robinson appears to have done – by appointing ourselves as arbiters of what is, or is not, true. Let the facts speak for themselves.