It was the event the far-right had anticipated for some days: this morning, at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand, the verdict was handed down in the matter of the appeal by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, against his jailing for two contempts of court. Even Ezra Levant flew in for the occasion. Wonder who paid for that?
When the news came, it precipitated The Rapture Of The Gammon™ as Lennon was granted conditional bail. Tommy had been freed! There would be no further need for the Wall Of Gammon™ to congregate in London and go on the rampage. No more violent assaults of Police officers would be necessary, or verbal abuse of women journalists.
What had not been taken on board by Lennon’s ecstatic supporters was that (a) the appeal against his contempt charge at Canterbury Crown Court was thrown out, and so stands, and (b) while the way in which the contempt charge was dealt with at Leeds Crown Court was judged to have been flawed, it has not gone away. The matter of the alleged contempt of court in Leeds is to be retried as soon as possible.
This is the key passage from the judgment: “The court agrees that the judge should not have commenced the hearing of contempt proceedings that day. Once the appellant had removed the video from Facebook, there was no longer sufficient urgency to justify immediate proceedings … No particulars of the contempt were formulated or put to the
appellant. There was a muddle over the nature of the contempt being considered”
In the circumstances, adjourning the hearing would have been preferable. And there was more: “The order at Leeds Crown Court was also erroneously drawn up to suggest the appellant had been convicted of a criminal offence rather than having been committed for contempt of court”. However, “The court remits the matter of alleged contempt at Leeds Crown Court to be heard again before a different judge”.
So the judge who oversaw the Leeds hearing messed up. That means that the judge who oversaw the Leeds hearing messed up. It does not mean that Lennon didn’t commit contempt. What it also means is that he was freed on bail on what, had it happened to one of those Scary Muslims™, would have been dismissed as a “technicality”.
Former prosecutor Nazir Afzal picked up on this. “Apparently the Establishment want him locked up!! This is how fair our Justice System can be - technicalities such as how cases are conducted & reporting restrictions matter”. And Mike Taylor had some advice for Lennon. “The lesson for Robinson SHOULD be: ‘Look how easy it is for someone who is clearly guilty to get off on a technicality. Do you REALLY want to be the person who makes that possible for the grooming gang?’” He hasn’t got off, but still.
And Mike Holden showed that the paranoia was still strong on this one. “Watch for the narrative ‘They freed him - he's innocent! But the courts will keep on trying him until they get the guilty verdict they want’”. Surely not? Er, surely would: “Don't think for one moment this is over. The Establishment will try every trick in the book to re-arrest and re-jail Robinson. Too many Lefty Luvvies to please and too many Muslims to appease”.
Stephen Lennon wins his freedom. But it isn’t over yet. And the febrile and paranoid mood of his supporters means there could be more trouble to come. We live in worrying times.