After I passed adverse comment on his attempt to reheat conspiracy theories about the mental state of Thomas Mair, who was given a whole life sentence for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday’s embodiment of Tedious Maximus, was deeply offended at his being called out for peddling yet more drivel.
Hitchens comes off second best ...
... by ignoring the evidence
“It is you @zelo_street, who are indulging in baseless and unreasoning slurs, aimed at suppressing free speech and discussion, which disgrace you … you plainly have not read what I say and wish to smear it in the eyes of others a low, dishonest technique beloved of the Nazis you affect to despise, but in this matter resemble. You're an enemy of the truth and of free speech” he thundered to no avail. And he was still plain flat wrong.
It was not long before Steve Peers and the Tweeter known as the Secret Barrister referred Hitchens and his supporters to the comments made by Daniel De Simone, who holds one advantage over Hitchens - he knows what he’s talking about. Why so? “I was actually involved in covering the case. I also spoke to eyewitnesses and people who knew Mair”.
On the subject of medical evidence, by which Hitchens set such great store, “It is normal at pre-trial hearings - in cases of all kinds - for discussion on whether medical matters will feature or be at issue in the trial … There was discussion about this at the initial hearings in June 2016 and by the time of the September hearing the defence was in a position to say there would no medical issue”. No medical issue.
As to Hitchens’ consideration of the evidence, “Your blog also says ‘most of the evidence was eyewitness accounts of the crime, and reports of the fruits of searching Mair’s miserable home’ … In fact, also central was evidence that Mair used the internet to research Jo Cox and how to kill, as well as his firearm and his ammunition … He had illegally acquired the firearm - how has still never been established - and he made some effort to plan his attack and escape”. And the political aspect of the case?
“On why the case was treated as political from the start: it was because of the evidence … For example, Mair made political statements during the attack, on arrest, and during his first court appearance. I was there and remember how deliberate and calculated it appeared”. Hitchens also criticised the Judge’s sentencing remarks.
“Setting aside the fact this was the murder of an MP in what was treated as a terrorist case, the judge had to decide whether to pass a full life term … Under Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 such a sentence can be a starting point where a murder was done for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial, or ideological cause … The judge concluded Mair’s crime warranted a full life term and was setting out why in his remarks”. There was also Hitchens’ claim about Mair seeking help.
“You also refer to Mair apparently visiting a ‘wellbeing centre’ the day before the attack. This may be one of the ‘facts’ you have been tweeting about … It is not an established fact. I went [to] the centre myself and was not sure Mair had attended. Read the following thread by the Crime Editor of the Times and you’ll see the controversy”.
Peter Hitchens has expressed an opinion as if it were fact. By doing so, he has ignored the evidence and emboldened the far-right. But he won’t say sorry. That’s not good enough.
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