The reason Tommy Robinson got arrested

Rather too few papers have been discussing the trouble Tommy Robinson got into over the past few days. Not a good good look for free speech nor even civil liberty. And yet now we’ve got the news of Tommy’s jailing, along with the reason he was jugged. It’s possibly a little different. At which point you be the judge of what you think should have happened.

One report:

ENGLISH Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has been caged for 13 months for contempt of court, it can be revealed today.

The 35-year-old far right-wing activist had been arrested last week after streaming an hour-long rant outside Leeds Crown Court.

It wasn’t breach of the peace – that was just the arrest, not the charge he was actually tried for.

EDL leader-turned independent journalist Tommy Robinson was jailed for 13 months on Friday. Leeds Crown Court blocked the media from publishing anything about Robinson’s imprisonment via reporting restrictions.
Robinson was on a suspended sentence, as he had previously been arrested for contempt of court after filming outside Canterbury Crown Court in May.

The reporting restriction prevented the publication of any content to do with Robinson’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment. The Independent, however, successfully appealed the reporting restriction on Tuesday.

We are all now allowed to talk about it, rather than being rather restrictive in what we say as we were.

Standing in the street and filming something which then goes on Facebook and the like is not normally an arrestable offence. And if doing so outside a courtroom were then the BBC and ITV and…well, lots of people actually – would be in serious trouble.

The thought that there was some other, deeper, reason for the arrest is what is motivating this.

That deeper reason being:

The English Defence League founder was then taken before a judge who then jailed him for 13 months after Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told him his actions may cause the retrial of a long-running trial, costing taxpayers ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.


A re-trial would also mean witnesses in the case would have to face the ordeal of giving evidence again before a jury.

The judge added: ‘You have to understand we are not preventing publication. We are postponing publication to ensure that the trial is fair.

‘It is a serious feature that you were encouraging others to share what you were streaming live on social media.’

No, that’s really not a good thing to have been doing:

He had named defendants in the case, the charges they face and details of the allegations, as well as filming defendants and confronting them outside court.

A strict order is currently in place temporarily banning publication or broadcasting details of the long-running case or anyone involved.

There is actually a damn good reason not to publish all of that right now. No, I ain’t gonna commit contempt by saying why either.

He said Robinson had been aware of the reporting restriction in place in the case but thought what he was saying on camera was already in the public domain.

Obviously not.

This is not therefore, perhaps at least, quite what some might think it is. Even those I like and admire on near all matters.

A trial is going on. For good reason (sorry, need to trust me on that) there are reporting restrictions in place over what can be said about it. The underlying point being that without such restrictions there is a danger that a fair trial might not be possible.

And yes, everyone does deserve a fair trial. The worse the crime accused of the more important the fairness of the trial is too. The more despised, the more societal prejudice against, the defendants, the greater the importance of that fairness and seen to be fair.

At which point it really is up to you to be the judge here. For that’s what the legal system is, in the end, us policing ourselves.

Someone jugged for talking about a trial? Bit off to a sinister oppression of a truth speaker to power. Contempt of court as a result of potentially prejudicing a fair trial – having been warned off doing so?

Hey, your choice here.

A rather deeper legal explanation can be found here.

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  1. It will not do, whether the pretext works or not. Is it not normal for names, charges and details to be known at this stage, all part of justice being seen to be done? If it were not, we would be talking of people being locked up without anyone knowing who they were or why. Which we are, it turns out, but not the people who may have done the alleged grooming, but someone who is trying to tell us about it.

    Oh yes, I’ve heard about the third part of the trial, I regard that as a piece of strange scheduling indeed, in my ignorance. Was it to minimize public discussion of what is going on?

  2. Sorry about that – I was annoyed by this. Unfortunately there is no edit system for posts. If you wish to delete the previous as it might make you liable then I won’t take it personally.

    However there is an article by Mark Steyn that appears to lay out the specifics in a fair bit of detail. It does not paint the British justice system in a good light, to put it mildly.

    The contempt sentence was for 3 months. Why quintuple the sentence with a 4 minute trial where his lawyer was not present?

    • The sentence for the original contempt was for 3 months, suspended for 18. Upon v#conviction for s second offence – for anything – he;s to serve the 3 months.

      He’s also been convicted of contempt for a second time. Second offences should get higher penalties, no? Thus 10 months.

      The two are served consecutively, not concurrently.

      I think I’ve got all that right.

      • Then you would think there would be a second trial for contempt and that it would be more than 4 minutes long and that his lawyer would be present for the trial.

        Or perhaps I have that wrong.

        • No, you wouldn’t think that, because contempt of court isn’t actually tried in court. A judge basically decides if you’re in contempt and sentences you on the spot.

          Robinson’s lawyer would have been present, as indeed he had a lawyer present the last time he was sentenced for it. At that time it was very carefully explained to him what conditions were attached to suspending that sentence, and what things he was being explicitly told not to do.

          He then went to Leeds and did exactly those things.

  3. We will have to wait and see if there is a good reason, but the police and courts have been more than happy to splash details around in the past, often with the defence that it will make more people come forward.
    The whole problem with secrecy being that we can’t even judge the reason why it should be a secret

  4. Yes, the work of the court is important, as no one wants fines or imprisonment to be handed out incorrectly. But courts are renowned for thinking that their job requires all jobs to come to a stop. They commandeer juries at little or no pay and subject all visitors to an electronic full-body search despite not knowing what they are looking for and why it might be on you, which is not supposed to happen in my country, its courts, or even its airports.

    Robinson’s v-log outside the court building would seem to be free speech on public property. The implication is that he was trolling the court, like a playground bully, who responds that “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” and is never told it is also a civil country, which the bully is not yet ready to join.

    The very helpful link to Mark Steyn’s column, apart from filling in the details of this case that no one is allowed to mention, shows that there is also an important public-policy question that I presume Robinson raised: This Court is confronting one aspect of Muslim savagery, and Her Majesty’s Government compulsively treats Muslims with kid gloves. Government now confirms the accusation by flagrantly over-reacting to a webcast on public property. To call attention to savagery is now Hate Speech. The accuser is now more controversial than the evildoer.

    The court can temporarily enjoin discussion of the particulars of the case before it. But it must not, even temporarily, inhibit discussion of a pervasive and unhealthy irrationality in government itself. That is the beginning of the end of the Rule of Law.

  5. It seems to me that those accused of contempt of court are effectively prosecuted, tried, and sentenced by a Judge sitting without a jury. A judge who, being human, is likely to be cross.
    Would it not be better, in order that the accused gets a fair trial, if the accused was remanded in custody and tried by a different judge with a jury.
    That would head off the suspicion that the accused was sentenced for who he was rather than what he did.
    Plus the “secrecy” was stupid- unless the object was to give British justice a bad name round the world.

    • I really don’t see what’s so complicated about this.

      A magistrate clearly and carefully explained to ‘Tommy Robinson’ the conditions for his suspended sentence, and exactly what kinds of behaviour would see it un-suspended. He then went and did … exactly that stuff.

      That’s kind of the thing that annoys judges. And indeed they’re obliged to deal with it speedily.

      I don’t understand why people think ‘Tommy Robinson’ should be allowed to break the law just because he hates Muslims. Oh, actually, I kind of do.

  6. As an aside, on Tim’s blog site he writes about a guy held on remand for 5½ months because of one false accusation of rape.

    How are these defendants allowed bail? Are the accusations they face not as serious?

  7. Re. Mark Steyn’s piece. Whilst it’s perfectly fair to say that the police, presumably under direction from various home secretaries and police commisions were very slow to act in any crime involving Muslims, I fail to see what the judiciary could have done about that.
    And now that action is at last being taken it is far better the judiciary is seen to be acting fairly, than that it seeks to compensate for the hopefully past laxness of the police.

  8. There is no reason to suppose that what we have seen so far is anything but the tip of the iceberg. I think it’s likely that the ‘grooming’ goes on in every town with a substantial population of the culture in question. Much more to come out. But the cover-up continues. Cover-ups always last until they can be concealed no longer. The arrest of TR, the NUJ reporting guidelines on ethnicity, the nothing to do with Islam theme, they are all part of the same cover-up. TR’s sin is that he wants to drag it all into the daylight. And the establishment’s fear? The mob. The deplorables. They fear us as much as they despise us. And one of the notable actions we have seen in the last few days is how much the media are on the side of the establishment. They obeyed the order to keep quiet. To me, that means they will obey any such order as the authorities use weaker pretexts and finally no pretext at all to keep us from knowing what is going on.

  9. What complicates this case is that our authorities have been involved in a decades-long cover-up. I don’t trust any of our authorities, judiciary included, or our media to report these cases accurately or thoroughly; I do believe they will take any opportunity they can to bury the news; I don’t trust that we the public will hear about each and every case if the information can possibly be suppressed. Is this because I’m a paranoid conspiracy theorist? No: the multiple cover-ups are now known and some of them are even admitted. So, no matter how they want to dress this up by saying, oh no, it wasn’t a reporting ban, just a postponement, they have lost credibility — and that is their own damn fault for quite deliberately throwing their credibility away. The fact is that, thanks to Tommy Robinson, this particular case is now unupcoverable.

  10. I think that the most important question raised by this is whether there is anybody of sound mind who does not hold the judicial system in contempt? A bunch of effing tossers who deserve to be shot at dawn.