After he was found guilty of Contempt of Court last week, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, spent much of the weekend telling the world that either the court got it wrong, he didn’t do it, or both. The thought that his intervention at a particularly sensitive point in the three linked trials of 20 men accused of a variety of sexual offences might have collapsed the trial was not allowed to enter.
Moreover, he wasn’t interested in the inconvenient fact that, the Monday after his Facebook live streaming outside the Leeds courts, five defence lawyers asserted before the trial Judge that their clients could no longer hope to receive a fair trial and that the case should therefore be dismissed. No, it was, as usual, all about him. He couldn’t possibly have broken the law, and it must be the state out to get him.
So it was that he told his followers “A quick point, to let people understand … the crime [laughs] it’s not a crime, it’s a civil offence. It’s not criminal. It’s a civil offence [looks like he wants everyone to know that it’s not a crime, and that it’s a civil offence] … it’s a civil offence, I’ve nearly spent three months in solitary confinement [that was at his own behest - no-one forced him into ‘solitary confinement’]”. And there was more.
“And now I face two years [minus time served, so not two years]. This is the Attorney General and Government getting me through the back door [where’s Kenneth Williams when you need him?]. The Magna Carta. Common law states that you should be tried by members of your peers, the British public - 12 members of the jury. I wasn’t allowed that. I face up to two years in jail, by a Judge? That’s not a fair system, and in fact that’s not how anybody else ever …”. And off he rambled. He’s wrong.
Magna Carta does not cover Contempt of Court, and is in any case irrelevant. And what Common law may or may not state, if the law provides that Contempt cases are tried before one or more Judges, then that is how they are tried. Lennon is blustering, partly to get his fans’ hopes up so they will turn up next Thursday in London to support him.
But his pièce de résistance was yet to come. The last thing he, or anyone else in his situation needs at this point, after a guilty verdict has been delivered and before sentence has been passed, is to smear the judiciary. So guess what Lennon has just done.
“The main judge in the Old Bailey LIED! My video will prove it!” he announced triumphantly. And in case you didn’t get that, the video was captioned “My video coming later will prove the most senior judge in our land as lying in court. Corrupt judicial system , corrupt media, corrupt establishment”. Yes, he really said that.
There comes a time when the best course of action is to stop pretending, keep schtum and accept that you have run out of road. But Stephen Lennon cannot get it into his head that his belief does not equal fact. He still thinks that what he did in Leeds can be explained away as “information that was already in the public domain”, despite the reality, that Contempt of Court is a strict liability offence, and he committed it.
Stephen Lennon just made the likelihood of a custodial sentence being handed down to him next Thursday even higher. Just rejoice at that news.
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