After Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, rocked up in Leeds last Friday, was subsequently arrested and then imprisoned, the paranoia among those out there on the far right has reached previously unheard-of levels. But one thing has been forgotten: the alleged victims of those on trial in Leeds, over 20 men who had been accused of being members of a grooming gang.
Think about that. Lennon has banged on incessantly about “Justice for …” whoever he claims to be supporting. But when it comes to his being taken into custody, primarily because of the danger of prejudicing at least one of the three trials taking place in Leeds (there were so many defendants that they were split between three separate, although intrinsically linked, trials), it becomes “Justice for … Tommy”. And no-one else.
So there has been a petition to have Lennon freed; the due process of law should be suspended for The Great Man. It won’t be. His followers are told of “Protests happening all over the world and it also looks like Banksy supports Tommy. Please send us any pictures of your local protest”. Nothing about grooming gang victims.
Plus there is the ever-present paranoia: “Tommy posted this video on his youtube channel back in March. It was titled 'I will not be around much longer'. He was predicting the worrying collusion between state and social media giants to remove his voice (fascism). It looks like the state decided to take it to the next level”. But there has been no collusion. Twitter banned him for breaking its terms and conditions. The state was not involved.
One look at the reporting restriction placed on “REGINA v Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon”, case S20180448, shows why this is bunk. Here is what it says: “Since it appears to be necessary for avoiding a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in these proceedings … The publication of any report of these proceedings … Shall be postponed until after the conclusion of the trial T20177360 and T20187130 Akhtar and others”.
It is not a question of someone not liking Lennon’s views.
It is, as ever, a question of justice. Justice not for Lennon, but for all the alleged victims of those who are now on trial in Leeds. One of those three trials is still ongoing. Lennon and his supporters need to answer one question: do they want justice for the victims?
Because if they do, they should quit the shit-stirring and get real. What happened to Lennon will be reported after those trials have completed. That is all.
[UPDATE 1520 hours: now that the Independent and Leeds Live have successfully challenged the reporting restriction shown above, we can see exactly what happened to Stephen Lennon, and why it was indeed all about him.
As the Indy has told, "Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months for breaking contempt of court laws with a Facebook live video ... [he] was arrested outside the court on Friday. He admitted committing contempt of court by publishing information that could prejudice an ongoing trial via a live stream on his Facebook page". There was more.
"Robinson made clear that he was aware of the restrictions during the Facebook live video, as well as the danger of being jailed ... 'There is a reporting restriction on this case,' the former English Defence League (EDL) founder said. 'I have to be super careful, you see, because when I was coming to these court cases, part of what the Police did was they dawn raided me and they put me on a contempt of court charge, which would mean that I could face prison'".
It is exactly as I said: he knew what he was doing, it wasn't about the victims, it was about him and his own ego trip.
So quit pretending he's a victim and get real. End of story]