This morning, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, walked towards the Old Bailey, filmed by media sycophants who should know better, while filming them himself just to maximise the swaggering self-aggrandisement of the moment. He told the assembled faithful that his free speech had been curtailed, and to prove this, there was a stage and sound system provided for him to, er, speak freely.
Then the moment arrived, and he entered the building, gravitating to Court 2, where he was up before Judge Nicholas Hilliard, the Recorder of London. Lennon was accompanied by his legal team - so much for the claim that he had sacked his lawyers - and various hangers-on including the deeply unpleasant Ezra Levant of Rebel Media, who has flown in from Canada in search of self-promotion opportunities.
It should have been straightforward: as the BBC’s Dom Casciani observed, “The judge says that he is satisfied that he has the powers to deal with the allegation that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/Tommy Robinson allegedly potentially derailed a trial in Leeds through his live Facebook filming”. Then came representation from Lennon’s counsel.
“Richard Furlong, counsel for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/Tommy Robinson, says that it is still his view that the Contempt allegation must be referred to the Attorney General, rather than heard by the judge, as directed by the Court of Appeal”. Judge Hilliard considered the matter. And then came the entirely predictable conclusion.
“Recorder of London says he can no longer hear the Stephen Yaxley-Lennon/Tommy Robinson case as it is so complex it needs to be referred to the Attorney General for further consideration before proceeding … Judge: ‘Cross-examination of Mr Yaxley-Lennon would be necessary for a proper examination of the allegations. All the evidence must be rigorously tested.’” So Lennon is not going to jail today.
This is entirely in line with the Stephen Yaxley Lennon business plan. Every court appearance generates donations; these will be duly solicited once more in anticipation of the next court date. There will be more free publicity from the more gullible parts of the media - including, to their shame, the broadcasters. Plural.
That the free speech being claimed never extends to those who disagree with Lennon and his pals will not be considered. Nor will the abuse meted out to victims of sexual abuse who fail to go along with Lennon’s claim that it’s all being perpetrated by the Scary Muslims™. Actual journalists who fall foul of The Great Tommy™ will continue to be shouted down, smeared as Fake News protagonists.
And all the while, Stephen Yaxley Lennon will continue to enjoy the freedom that he claims is being curtailed, while watching the donations roll in. There will be more expensive furnishings for that new £950,000 house, longer and more upmarket holidays, faster, shinier and more luxurious cars, more meals out, more … well, more everything.
Being a victim never got so lucrative. I’ll just leave that one there.
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