The alleged appeal mounted on behalf of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, against the custodial sentence handed down for his second admitted Contempt of Court in the past 18 months, appears to have hit a snag. It isn’t happening, or at least, not when his supporters claimed it would. And the suspicion is gradually increasing that everything about this case is not as it seems.
Lennon pleaded guilty when he appeared in court in Leeds, as he did when he made his earlier appearance in Canterbury. So it seems highly unusual that the case would come to appeal. He admitted his guilt, and that was that. But it seems that it is the custodial sentence that is being appealed. And Rebel Media is on the case.
So we went from news of a “new #TommyRobinson legal DEFENCE FUND, authorized by Tommy's family, to pay for his appeal”, to “Tommy Robinson's lawyer lodges appeal, applies for bail”, and then “Thanks to you, we're crowdfunding a top legal team to represent #TommyRobinson, whose appeal will be heard JULY 10 by Lord Justice Leveson, the #UK's most senior criminal judge”. But then a problem entered.
As Mike Stuchbery pointed out, “.@TheRebelTV claims that 'Tommy Robinson' is having his appeal on the 10th. That's news to the RCJ. No Stephen Lennon for that date. The #FreeTommy lot have been conned”. There was, indeed no case featuring anyone called Lennon or Yaxley Lennon on the Appeal Court list. So now what?
Ezra Levant of Rebel Media has not told when the appeal will be held. But he has signalled the beginning of the blame game. “OUTRAGE: Tommy Robinson's appeal court date has been cancelled by the state. They say they need ‘more time’ to prepare, so Tommy can rot in jail longer. Tommy, by contrast, was given mere minutes to prepare his defence on May 25th” he told his followers yesterday.
He followed that with “To be clear: Tommy Robinson is still appealing his case. But the DATE of July 10 has been cancelled. The government excuse - they need more time - is pitiful, and manifestly false”. Levant knows more about the justice system than those administering the justice system. And then the blame shifted.
The target of the far-right is now Sir Brian Leveson, who Levant has claimed will hear Lennon’s appeal, but no-one has confirmed it. A site called Kipper Central has claimed “Lord Leveson gave an interview to the BBC Radio 4s Law In Action program on June 24th in which he used the case of Mr Robinson as an example of when posting material on the internet can lead to imprisonment due to contempt of court. This means, I would submit, that already, before the case has been heard and therefore before Lord Leveson has had all the facts of the case presented to him, that he has in fact predetermined the guilt of Mr Robinson and is therefore unable to impartially judge his appeal”.
This was, in turn, picked up by the screamingly batshit Voice of Europe site: “Lord Brian Leveson is the judge that was set to hear the appeal by Tommy on 10 July. He was on BBC 4s Law in Action program on 24 June where he discussed Tommy’s case, declaring him GUILTY before seeing any evidence or allowing him a fair trial”.
And UKIP Daily has gone totally gaga, claiming “So today, we discover that the Deep State is engaging in more machinations over Tommy Robinson, and is effectively determined to see him dead”. Most of this is uninformed speculation.
Yet it is being picked up by Lennon’s supporters and treated as if it were fact. We don’t know for sure of this appeal really exists. Nor is it certain who would hear it when it finally comes to the Appeal Court. Yet Ezra Levant is there whipping up the mob, aided and abetted by the batshit misinformation fringe.
The smear of Sir Brian Leveson is as needless and it is disgraceful. Levant and his pals should stick to factual information, but that is not what they are about. There is another gathering in support of Lennon on the 14th, and they need to stir up the faithful enough to get them out on to the streets of London once more.
This dishonest and dangerous rabble-rousing needs to stop. But those behind it aren’t sensible enough to do that. So it won’t stop. Until someone gets seriously hurt. Or worse.