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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Tommy Robinson And Reporting Restrictions

What happened yesterday to Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, after he rocked up outside court in Leeds and was later arrested, shows that there are a lot of people out there who do not understand reporting restrictions put in place to ensure that those on trial receive a fair hearing. Lennon’s supporters largely do not want to know about this, and that is a pity - mainly for them.
As is understood here on Zelo Street, there have been three separate trials in progress in Leeds of more than 20 individuals accused of being part of a grooming gang. Not all of the trails have yet concluded. As with other grooming gang trials, the prosecution has invested a great deal of effort in securing justice for the alleged victims; part of that effort is to ensure that outside interference is not allowed to compromise or even collapse the trial.
That the trials had not all concluded was confirmed by the Independent’s report, which toldLennon … had claimed that verdicts were due on Friday but court officials confirmed that the trial of nine defendants is ongoing”. West Yorkshire Police declined to comment when asked by the representative from the Evening Standard.

Free sheet Metro set out why Lennon was arrested: “He showed men entering the court on Facebook until he was approached by officers telling him to stop … Robinson is already under a suspended sentence over contempt of court at a gang rape trial in Canterbury last year … It is a criminal offence that can land people in jail”.
Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal set out the potential pitfalls of breaking reporting restrictions: “We nearly lost the so called Rochdale grooming case (#ThreeGirls) cos of a far right communication … Their lawyers applied at their trial that the jury had been prejudiced by Far Right We had to fight to persuade Court to allow trial to continue Those criminals came close to being freed & victims close to getting NO justice Jury must decide on EVIDENCE, not on your OPINION”. Others added their own cautions.
Sharon Bottomley warned “It's because this trial has reporting restrictions which are there for a reason. The trial has been split as so many defendants and when all have been tried later this year then restrictions will be lifted. They cannot risk any coverage as all 3 trials linked”. And Mike Stuchbery concluded “Cases involving child sexual exploitation are generally highly restricted. There are so many things that (quite rightly) can't be made public. What he's done is hugely irresponsible”.
Also, the warning given to Lennon by Judge Heather Norton at Canterbury Crown Court should be borne in mind. “In short, Mr. Yaxley-Lennon, turn up at another court, refer to people as ‘Muslim paedophiles, Muslim rapists’ and so on and so forth while trials are ongoing and before there has been a finding by a jury that that is what they are, and you will find yourself inside.  Do you understand?  Thank you very much”.
As Lennon’s actions are now linked inextricably to the continuing trial in Leeds, those reporting restrictions, and the contempt laws, still apply. They even apply to his Facebook page. That might be difficult for his supporters, and the likes of Lauren Southern, to comprehend. But that’s the way we ensure fair trials in the UK - for everyone.

It does not mean anyone’s free speech is being curtailed. That is all.

40 comments:

Graeme the Guiri Veïns Democràtics said...

"refer to people as ‘Muslim paedophiles, Muslim rapists’ and so on and so forth while trials are ongoing and before there has been a finding by a jury that that is what they are, and you will find yourself inside. Do you understand? Thank you very much"

And quite right your Honour, but in this instance he didn't do that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbNWJZMyJz4

David Lea said...

I think you may be technically correct and TR was very stupid reportng on these trials before they had concluded. He should have been moved on, even banned within a certain radius from any court in the land. But to be put in prison that same day without a jury, when he was careful to follow the guidelines he (thought he) had been told is a disgrace. Also, he wa not allowed hos solicitor. The parameters and context of any story are decided by the author. You chose very narrow parameters becaue you have you agenda to pedal. We lost a battle yesterday, but the war continues. Figuratevely speaking.

Anonymous said...

TR was arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace NOT contempt of court. Anyone who watches the events on the video widely available leading up to his arrest, will see TR was not breaching the peace. If he has been re-arrested and charged with contempt of court it is in the public interest to be told of this. TR was not reporting on the trial. He was attempting to make sure the alleged crimes committed by the perpetrators, received the public attention there severity deserves.

John Porter said...

What war's that then? He was on a suspended sentence, breached the rules and was jailed. If the likes of Tommy ruled this country what sort of justice would we expect?

John said...

He was on a suspended sentence ,no trial is needed,you break conditions you get recalled to prison plus it's magistrate court offence anyway which don't have trials.

Mark Hollinrake said...

The former chief prosecutor makes it clear why there has to be reporting restrictions. A lot of CSA is still happening, and investigations into these crimes, might be harmed by any leaks from current on going trials.

The likes of Yaxley-Lennon, BNP, BF etc are not interested in the victims, or even when the crimes are committed by non Muslims, they are only interested in having a go at the wider Muslim community .

Hippy Monk said...

He wasnt reporting on the case as such, he read out the names and charges of the defendants,something that was already public knowledge as was in the tabloid press. It must have also been an open court as Mohan Singh was in the court to listen to the verdicts

Muggins said...

I want to believe this, but wasn't he arrested for a "breach of the peace" a vague, catch-all term enabling the police to lock up folk they don't like? They have form in concentrating far more effort on TR than they did on grooming gangs till the so-called right-wing press got hold of the story.

Is TR that much trouble any more? He's turned into something of a free-speech activist. He has a point there, at least: social media sites delete his accounts and the police harass him.

I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but there appears to be a weird silence from the press and police about the grooming gangs & FGM.

These issues are muddied by those who accuse everyone of racism. As a result nobody wants to say that there are serious issues with rather insular Muslim communities. You feel you might get a visit from police for even mentioning the possibility.

If we care at all about free-speech or our system of law (as you claim to) we ought to be seriously concerned about these events.

Muggins said...

"not interested in the victims"

You don't know that. I'm not persuaded that TR should be bracketed with those organisations. Look at the video of his performance in the Oxford union (if YouTube haven't deleted it..) Lot's of clever, very left-wing students there, and they couldn't trip him up.

In any case, there is a very real concern with the grooming gangs, and how the police responded to them. Add the fact that they haven't prosecuted a single FGM case (it's illegal in the UK, and still happens), & things you hear from anonymous police officers online, and you get the impression that the cops don't apply the law equally to Muslims because they're afraid, either of the Muslim communities themselves, or of being called racist and losing their jobs..

graeme dunn said...

Like the mail did weeks before? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/~/article-4405262/index.html

graeme dunn said...

There were no restrictions on reporting once the case had concluded. The press were allowed to observe but not present their stories until after sentencing.

Anonymous said...

The convicted fraudster, football hooligan,impersonator, and alleged woman beater Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson made a little comment in his live stream asking 'if this was contempt of court?' that gives his game away. He knew what he was doing to manufacture outrage from his less intelligent followers as he also knew what would happen to him regarding his suspended sentence. If he didn't he should sack his solicitor.

Unknown said...

John Porter,if Mr Tommy Robinson ruled this Country our CHILDREN would be SAFE.NO more cover UPS from GOVERNMENT,the Judge is talking NONSENSE Rolf Harris and other PAEDOPHILES had cameras showing them coming and going from COURT,we should protect our CHILDREN who are being RAPED every day.GOD BLESS TOMMY.

loonyboyx said...

"Free speech" means "racist thugs can be racist thugs with no consequence" in his world, as the recent rally showed.

Marto said...

Stephen/Tommy/Andrew/Paul/Whatever he wants to be called, likes white paedos its the non white ones he has an issue with. which fits in nicely with his neo-nazi beliefs.

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/176587/Paedo-rap-for-EDL-leader

Free speecher said...

He was arrested for breach of the peace not contempt of court so your article is wrong

Mark DeGiorgio said...

And you are? One of them idiots who parade round in masks and balaclavas?

Unknown said...

Didn't see Tommy at Leigh McMillan's trial, i wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Every trial is different, you can't compare Rolf Harris to this as the victims waived their right to be anonymous...

Anonymous said...

http://www.renegadetribune.com/why-tommy-robinson-is-an-idiot-in-the-wrong/

Bill Lewis said...

oh dear, so you saw the hack job the media did on that too huh? They looked for content to make it look bad, declared all supporters as far right etc..

perhaps take of the media glasses?

quietasamouse said...

How is that relevant? They were remarks made during the Canterbury trial, as described above. As the result of his actions in Canterbury, Yaxley Lennon was sentenced to three months imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months. The judge at the time made it perfectly clear that a repetition of such behaviour would result in a custodial sentence. Yaxley Lennon chose to ignore the reporting restrictions, of which he was fully aware, evidenced by him mentioning them in his video. His incarceration is totally deserved.

quietasamouse said...

Yaxley Lennon knew about the reporting restrictions but chose to ignore them. He fully deserves his punishment.

Anonymous said...

Throw away the key

Lisa said...

Anyone on jury service is told not to watch news, read papers or social media about the case they are a juror for. So in fact there is no media to sway their judgement. They hear the case as it is in the courtroom. So the people on a jury should not be swayed by anything other than what goes on during a trial .

Anonymous said...

How are you defining far right? When you're that far left, anywhere else on the political spectrum is far right? Or are you just repeating what other people say, without bothering to do your own research? If he had a magic wand, an authoritarian ideology would be erased from the planet and nobody would die or suffer in any way. Is that a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

In England and Wales, constables (or other persons) are permitted to arrest a person to "prevent a further breach of the peace" which allows for the police or the public to arrest a person before a breach of the peace has occurred.

If once he's been put before the courts and they have found him in breach of his previous sentence he is punished. Don't see what the confusion is??

Anonymous said...

Graeme the Guiri Veïns Democràtics ummmmmmmmm He didn't turn up outside a court?????? Where was he arrested?

Anonymous said...

What's FGM got to do with Islam? It's a cultural tradition, in predominantly Christian countries, not an Islamic teaching.

Anonymous said...

We need a campaign to boycott pakistani takeaways and restaurants until Tommy Robinson is released.

Unknown said...

@Anonymous "in predominantly Christian countries,"
This is false.

It's true that FGM *is* cultural, almost all in Africa, but it has been embraced by predominately Muslim countries there, fitting their mysogynist culture.
At best, your statement should have been, "including in some majority Christian countries"

FACTS
(Per UNICEF:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FGM_prevalence_15%E2%80%9349_(2016).jpg:
):
Of 11 countries with 70+% rate of FGM,
only 2 are majority Christian:
Ethiopia, 63% Isl to 34% Chr
& Eritrea, 50 to 48, basically even.
Of 18 with 25+%, only 5 are majority Christian.
Of 22 with 15+%, only 8 are majority Christian.

nparker said...

He isn't interested in the victims and it is obvious.

If he cared, he would not be risking messing up the trials of the alleged perpetrators.

nparker said...

My God, you people really do ignore all evidence because you want to continue your blind beliefs in nonsense.

The media found content that made him look bad. He made that content. The evidence is there, and just ignoring it and instead whining about the messenger doesn't work on those of us with at least a little intelligence.

nparker said...

What are you on about, Mark? Surely you can see that you're making no sense whatsoever.

Tommy is an idiot who wants us all to share his bigotry, and people with intelligence aren't buying.

nparker said...

Eh?

If he had a magic wand people would be put away without trial or charges if they are brown. His IS an authoritarian ideology. That's his poisonous ideology in a nutshell.

You are also laughable when you talk of the far right. Robinson is far right. That is fact. Tim is not far left. That is a fact also. Tim is doing not what you say, but is in fact telling the facts of the political spectrum.

nparker said...

I'd imagine you are a parody account? I hope so...

VeeDubZ said...

"Didn't see Tommy at Leigh McMillan's trial, i wonder why." - because he isnt islamic and that's what he reports on

Anonymous said...

How is it contempt of court when it was published 11th May 2017 who had been charged. There were going to be 3 different trials (Jan, April & Sept) and how long they expected each trial to last. In detail it was published the name of the person charged, the area they lived and their charges. It also stated who was going to be at which trial. So anything Tommy said was already in the public domain .Actually more was published by the newspaper than Tommy actually said

Anonymous said...

I don't see why it biases the trial. Just make sure the jurors don't watch his livestream.

If anyone on the jury is likely to watch a Tommy Robinson livestream then they aren't fit to be on a jury trying Muslim people in any case. These people will not get a fair trial, whatever this particular racist happens to say.

There are far more important sources of bias in the court system than the off-chance of a juror stumbling on political comments. Things like the effects of previous framing of the issue in general, racial and class prejudice, personal authoritarianism, even bias against a defendant's appearance.

There is a wealth of influence on possible sources of unfairness in cognitive psychology - primacy/recency effect, impact of terminology used, just world fallacy, all kinds of things which aren't controlled for in court cases because the process was designed centuries ago when people had no knowledge of psychology. We know from experiments that authoritarians will tend to convict regardless of evidence, so if we don't want wrongful convictions, they need to be filtered out of the jury pool. In the age of brain scans and big data profiling, it should be easy enough to filter the racists and authoritarians out of the jury pool (and for that matter, the magistrate and judge pool) - but nobody even tries to do it.

We know there is widespread unfairness in outcomes. Black people are more likely than white people to be convicted on the same charges, because jurors or magistrates are racist. I've seen clear-cut insanity cases (such as the girl who thought her victim was a robot) getting convicted. People in the 2011 riots going to jail just for being in the wrong place. Cops constantly getting off for clear-cut abuse while people defending themselves against cops get convicted. Prosecutors rewriting the law on the spot and getting away with it because the defendant is publicly hated (e.g. the Abu Hamza "solicitation to murder" charge). People like the Birmingham Six were convicted based on threadbare evidence because of public prejudice. In a case like the Leeds one, someone could be biased by reading about "Asian grooming gangs" in the press, and wrongly convict on this basis, even if the articles were nothing to do with the actual case they were trying. This kind of thing is well enough documented in the sociology of moral panics: if the prosecution have a narrative which fits with dominant media narratives at the time, it's easy to get wrongful convictions and disproportionate sentences. What some Nazi says on a random Facebook feed is a drop in the ocean. In this context, stupid rules about media coverage are just backdoor excuses for censorship based on outdated beliefs about motivations and influences.

If the problem is that this fascist idiot is calling people rapists when they're only *accused* rapists, that's libel which is a civil not a criminal offence.

What judges are really angry about, is they do not like people standing up to them and not doing as they're told. It's the same mentality as tyrants of every age and a clever political opportunist like Tommy Robinson knows how to play their narrow-mindedness to his advantage.

Unless we ensure that jurors are fair-minded enough people that they'd never be influenced by someone like Tommy Robinson - or for that matter, by the front page of the Sun - and that judges are fair-minded enough to not put their chagrin about not getting their way ahead of proportionality and fairness, then we aren't going to have fair trials full stop.

Anonymous said...

I get why he got the suspended sentence for filming INSIDE the Caterbury Crown Court despite a publication ban, but I don't get why he was sentenced for filming outside a court, in public domain, where anyone is entitled to see what is going on in real time. I get that it could jeopardize the trial, but to me that means that it is the court's responsibility to ensure the anonymity of the defendants while they enter court.