Whatever you may think of Tommy Robinson, no one can argue he’s been given a fair shake by the media or the British government.
To be fair, he’s thumbed his nose at both quite a bit over the years, but due process is meant to be for everyone.
Everyone except him, that is.
An appellate court already found last summer his rights had been violated when a Leeds judge had Robinson arrested, charged, tried, convicted, sentenced and hauled off to jail in a matter of hours. When I was in London last October I overheard British mainstream media journalists conspiring to lie about Robinson and professing his guilt before the judge even entered the courtroom.
That judge, the most senior at the famous Old Bailey, said thanks to a statement provided by Robinson there was enough ambiguity about whether he was, in fact, guilty of contempt of court that the case should be referred to the Attorney General of the United Kingdom, Geoffrey Cox.
It was, and Cox ordered a new hearing, sending Robinson back to court on a charge for which he’s already served 10 weeks of a 13 month sentence that’s been tossed out.
On Tuesday, government will argue in a two-hour hearing that Robinson should be subjected to another contempt of court hearing. Robinson’s legal team will argue he shouldn’t.
Yes, I flew across the Atlantic for a two-hour procedural matter. I am grateful to have received a grant covering my flight and hotel costs, raised by Ezra Levant and The Rebel. I’m paying for everything else out of my own pocket. Though I’m happy to do so, as Robinson’s case really is about the procedure.
After all, it was a supposed procedural infraction that the initial Leeds judge said justified imprisoning Robinson in the first place. Covering, as an activist journalist, a case the mainstream media had been ignoring was his “crime.”
I said when I came to the United Kingdom last October that it wasn’t to be a cheerleader of Robinson. I meant it, and even put my reservations with his past comments and positions to him directly, in an interview.
I’m here again because as the prosecution of Robinson mounts, so too do questions about the state of free speech and press freedom in Western nations.
Despite all this the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom are co-hosting a press freedom summit in London–where I am right now–in July. Last week I launched a crowdfunding campaign through True North to attend and cover the summit, being spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
If you support independent voices fighting to stand up for these freedoms, please make a contribution of what you can afford, whether it’s a few dollars or a few hundred dollars.
I take no joy in needing to cover these things, but take comfort in knowing how many people there are who support the effort.