Tommy Robinson is being painted as a free speech martyr due to his contempt of court case. For those outside of the United Kingdom, it's easy to take this story and mention how "no papers are allowed to comment" on the case and make it out to be something it isn't. In the UK there are certain reporting restrictions. Tommy was not arrested for "reporting the truth about grooming gangs." He was arrested because this is the second time he has ignored the rules against taking photos or recording in a court precinct. That includes outside the court.
Tommy has been warned time and again about this. This is the second time he has been charged with contempt for ignoring reporting restrictions. The UK news can and does report on the situation of grooming games. However, in the case of Rochdale, premature reporting on the situation could have resulted in an unfavorable verdict where the rapists went free.
At this point, you really have to ask yourself why someone would do such a thing knowing the potential result. This case is not about Tommy Robinson, it's about a gang of rapists who specifically targeted young girls. If Tommy cared about those girls more than "a scoop" or becoming a "martyr for free speech" he could have waited until the case was complete before sharing any material he had been collecting.
Tommy had even been warned by Sky News during the Darren Osborne trial. They interviewed him for nearly a half hour and it was around the time they mentioned that they would, of course, be saving these materials for after the verdict had been brought back that he laughingly told them he had been livestreaming the entire interview. They warned him then and there that he could be liable for contempt and end up in court. This case, by the way, had nothing to do with Muslims or rape gangs, so it's not like the rules on reporting only apply to grooming gang coverage.
The reporting restrictions are there to prevent any coverage potentially prejudicing the trial proceedings. Another case in Leeds involved Tommy actually confronting the defendants. This kind of cavalier behavior may win some applause from the peanut gallery, but this kind of showboating is counterproductive. It's like the police catching a murderer and then beating him up in the interrogation room. Might feel good for the moment, but you just let one of the bad guys get away.
Julie Lake is a member of the National Front, a British Nationalist group, in addition to her piece at Dave Yorkshire's Mjolnir magazine on the subject, she has the following to say:
"The only ones that matter are the victims and their families. Can't they see what's happening here. Instead of focus on what the victims suffered, how it destroyed theirs and their families lives, and seeing the abusers sent down and justice prevailing, all of that is overlooked because now, its' all about Tommy F*g Robinson. Now, no one is even thinking about those girls and getting justice for them, Robinson has made it all about me, me, me. If he stage-managed this for publicity, then he's used the victims as cannon fodder for his own personal gain"
Read this from when the case first started and note well the following passage: 'We understand the trial will carry reporting restrictions which would only allow any reporting upon conclusion of the case. If an order is raised we will challenge it.'
In the UK, even with reporting restrictions, there are means to work within the law. The Examiner covered a story that was under restriction. They were willing to fight for the right to cover the story: "We understand the trial will carry reporting restrictions which would only allow any reporting on conclusion of the case. If an order is raised we will challenge it."
In the UK it is a criminal offense for the media to broadcast anything that could "create a substantial risk of serious prejudice" in any "active" legal proceedings. In short, once legal proceedings become "active", it is a criminal offence for media organisations to broadcast material which would A case is "active" once a person is arrested, a warrant is issued or a person has been charged. The case remains in an "active" state "until such time as the accused has been acquitted or convicted." Intention or knowledge of restrictions have no bearing on whether the crime committed should be charged, however, if it can be proved the person committing the crime was aware and acted intentionally then it may be punished more severely.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I'm a journalist and I'm not worried because I understand the law regarding contempt & reporting restrictions. If Tommy Robinson were a proper journalist he'd know it too <a href="https://t.co/XrHIgHTDrj">pic.twitter.com/XrHIgHTDrj</a></p>— Kris Griffiths (@KrisGriffiths) <a href="https://twitter.com/KrisGriffiths/status/1000136142975586304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
These aren't "new rules" either. It is illegal to film inside a Court or outside the building and precincts as per Section 41 of the CJA 1925. Tommy was plainly told that last time he was in Court and given a suspended sentence. At this point, he is now liable for the three months he had suspended and any time the Court sees fit for the second offense.
<iframe width="356" height="267" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Im2BhmMR-xU" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Notice in the clip above when the Sky News reporter discovers he's live online streaming from Tommy's friend's phone. He warns him "This is potentially contempt of court," and "You could get into some serious trouble." A warning, a suspended sentence and now this. The reporter explains that everything they were discussing was to go in a piece that would be released <i>after</i> when the proceedings were no longer "active." It's at 28:22 the Sky News reporter says, pointing towards the phone's camera: "This can't go out." At which point he's told the stream is live. This was in reference to Darren Osborne's case which had nothing to do with Muslims or rape gangs. The Sky News reporter explains again that their recording was not going to go out until after. Robinson plays dumb so he can seem to be "shut down" by the powers that be. Robinson knew the rules, he knew the potential consequences, but he didn't care.
Dave Yorkshire, founder and editor of Mjolnir magazine comes to the same conclusion:
<blockquote>Julie Lake's article published here got it absolutely spot on: it was his own fault. I will go further: he went there with the express purpose of being arrested and imprisoned so that he could become "a martyr to the cause". He knew full well that the terms of his suspended sentence received in Canterbury last year, where the judge was surprisingly lenient considering that even then he had been warned in Luton about interfering with ongoing trials, were that he would receive a harsh sentence if he attempted to prejudice another ongoing trial by reporting on it in such a way that prejudiced the jury.</blockquote>
"Imagine one of those victims is your daughter. Gang raped, tortured, life in ruins. As a parent you have had to battle against a hostile police force, hostile local authorities, and finally, the police charge your kids rapist. The only thing that the parents, the girl and family have got by way of closure, is to see her abuser go down for 15 years. Finally, after years of getting nowhere, you finally get a date for his trial. The police would have taken months and months getting the evidence to secure a conviction, and at last, he's on trial. All you would be thinking of, is, at last, we are going to see justice. Enter some idiot with a smartphone camera… on a trial with reporting restrictions where the 9 accused, have to be anon throughout because another police investigation is ongoing against the 9, where additional charges are to be laid against them, after this trial. If found guilty, they get another 10 yrs, ensuring that they rot in hell and never get near another little girl. But no, let some moron post their faces live on social media for 5 minutes of glory. This trial collapses, and the other charges won't see justice because their lawyers will call a mistrial because Robinson identified them…. Further more, if identified, bearing in mind, these 9 are not in custody yet, they are on bail, and free until convicted, there has been previous cases, of the accused jumping on the first plane to Pakistan or India. We have spent years as nationalists to get these victims justice. Now the authorities are hunting them down, why on earth, would anyone even think of doing something that would see a mistrial and those girls' abusers walk away free. ? Come on.. WHY ? How dare him or anyone think they have a right to put a trial at risk, and destroy those girls, all over again. Who gave him the right to do that?" Lake remarked online.
Tommy could have taken his filmed materials and sat on them until the trial was complete. At which point he'd still have his precious "scoop." But that wasn't enough. Knowing that it could mean these monsters go free, Tommy played the ham and now justice hangs in the balance. One warning, one suspended sentence and now this. Tommy knew exactly what he was doing. Why he chose to do it anyway, well, that's anybody's guess. From where I sit it appears he may be doing so to overshadow the case itself even if it means jeopardizing the actual proceedings.
He was arrested for filming on a court precinct. He's been arrested for this before. He <i>knows</i> better. He is trying to make himself in a martyr and in doing so overshadowing and jeopardizing the actual trial proceedings.
"Tommy Robinson was arrested for reporting on rape gangs." No, not at all. Rape gangs are reported on all the time. Every time a guilty verdict comes back the faces of the accused are slapped across all the major papers. Rochdale rapists almost went free because someone thought a scoop was more important than abiding by reporting restrictions during the duration of the trial. I have to see, it's nearly a stroke of genius here. Folks in the UK and across the world who don't pay attention are all Robinson was taken down for telling the truth while fighting for justice for these girls when in actuality he put the trial at risk by doing what he did. He had been warned, he knew what could happen. To gamble with a few months behind bars is his own business, to gamble with the freedom of a gang of rapists, that is not his place. It's true that if and when these men had been charged, most of the news would refer to them as an "Asian gang" in favor of calling a spade a spade and referring to them as "Muslim child rape gangs." That's not what Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (better known as Tommy Robinson and far better known worldwide this month than he was last month) did that was illegal though. It had nothing to do with what he was reporting or how he was reporting it, but you'll hear that mentioned time and time again by people either ignorant of UK law regarding reporting restricted cases. The UK, in fact, does a far better job at reporting "in-house" institutional pedophilia and child abuse than we do here in the US, unfortunately (see also, The Finders' child trafficking and CIA "internal investigation" at the point it would have become a federal case, the DOD child porn scandal of a few years back, multiple Congress seats held by people who were accused of some sort of lewdness with minors whether it's sexting or hitting on Congressional aides or illegally restructuring payoff settlements like Denny Hastert).
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TTdJaHWvLbk" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Tommy knew that the trial verdict was to be handed down that same day. He knew that by grandstanding he risked a mistrial that would set these men free. Tommy saw fit to ignore this risk and defy a law that has been on the books for over 90 years. The defendants had prison bags in hand. Were likely ready to be charged. I can only hope that the men will not be set free due to "Tommy's" idiotic and self-serving actions. If so, I wonder if he'll think it's worth it. Ah, so long as the donations are coming in, right Tommy?
I wonder what is going on with the trial at this point. Evidently, only one case was resolved that afternoon with nine left waiting on a verdict. Nazir Afzal, a former prosecutor explained on Twitter how the Rochdale grooming case was nearly lost because of a very similar stunt. The lawyers, in that case, appealed that the jury had been prejudiced by premature coverage.
I'm certain whoever is representing the alleged gang rapists and child traffickers are trying to use Robinson's actions as an excuse for a mistrial that would set these men free. I don't know how Tommy feels about that, but I'll give you my two cents. It wasn't anywhere near worth it.