Today in Peterborough, the attempt by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, to sue Cambridgeshire Police continues. Among his problems, however, is that, at his personal invitation, Ezra Levant of Rebel Media has flown in from Canada to cover events and live-Tweet from the courtroom. And as I pointed out yesterday, his style of Tweeting, including smearing and pre-judging, was never going to go down well.
So it has proved as the second day of proceedings got under way. As Cambridgeshire Live has told via its reporter Freddie Lynne - who has the misfortune to be seated next to Levant in court - “Her Honour Judge Karen Walden-Smith, who is presiding over the court, is raising a couple of matters before the main proceedings begin.”
Which were what, exactly? “She says a decision has been made to stop members of the public from sitting in the front row of the gallery … She also addresses Ezra Levant, the Canadian from The Rebel Media, which also employs Tommy Robinson, who has been live-tweeting the case … HHJ Walden-Smith says the tweets contained ‘pejorative, inaccurate and inflammatory language’”. Dead right they did.
There was more. “She continues: ‘It happened before I spoke to you yesterday. I am taking it that you are not posting these tweets further. Witnesses and potential witnesses must not be intimidated in any way. Can I have an assurance that none were after we spoke to you? Mr Levant says his goal is to be compliant with the court, adding: ‘I don’t want to waste any more of the court’s time.’ HHJ Walden-Smith says this is nothing to do with Robinson”. Levant still, though, does not see how serious his position is.
We can see this from his live-Tweeting, for instance “The judge speaks to me directly again, referring to ‘pejorative’ tweets I made yesterday, but not particularizing them. I presume she refers to my description of the police as ‘pervy’ for filming Tommy's kids and making them cry. I told the judge I will not say that again”. Most noble of him.
There is more. “The trial is not about me, and I don't want to distract from it, or to take up the court's time. Neither do I wish to interfere with the court in any way. I told the judge I'm happy to take more advice from her, but out of [deference] I will no longer call the cops ‘pervy’”. It’s not about deference. It’s about not disrupting proceedings.
It is also not about opinions, but about facts. So guess what Levant said next? “I will continue to tweet my honest opinions based on the facts I see; opinion journalism is a legitimate species of journalism, perhaps one of the most important. But it is not my goal to offend the court or to interfere with her, so I will defer to her sensibilities”. What he calls “Opinion journalism” is not what a court reporter should be doing.
Yet he still could not see the seriousness of his situation, sneering “I had no idea that @CambsCops were so sensitive, and I want them to know that the court will remain a ‘safe space’ for them”. It’s not about Cambridgeshire Police. It’s about the court. And he still isn’t listening - the pejorative Tweeting is just carrying right on.
Stephen Lennon personally invited Levant to cover proceedings. From what has happened so far, it’s looking like a decision he may come to regret.
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