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U.K. Arrests Anti-Muslim Activist Tommy Robinson for Livestreaming Outside a Trial

The very fact that Robinson got 13 months in jail was also initially illegal to report.

The British far-right anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson has been sentenced, initially in secret, to 13 months in jail for committing acts of web journalism outside a Leeds court regarding an ongoing criminal trial.

Pete Maclaine/ZUMA Press/NewscomPete Maclaine/ZUMA Press/Newscom

The arrest last Friday, as Fox News reports, happened because Robinson was filming outside a trial of Muslim men "accused of being part of a gang that groomed children." LeedsLive reports that Robinson was livestreaming for an hour to Facebook outside Leeds Crown Court and that 250,000 people saw his reporting.

His imprisonment was for violating what the British system calls a "postponement order" on any public reporting of an ongoing court case, in this case because it involves a series of linked trials. The theory is that reporting on one before the others are over could undermine defendants' ability to have a fair trial. The judge who sent Robinson away justified the severity of the punishment by invoking the potential costs of any retrial made necessary by Robinson's actions.

Even reporting that Robinson had been sentenced to more than a year in jail for what could certainly be seen as an act of pure free expression was itself under a legal gag order. That led to some reporting on Robinson's sentence being memory-holed. The judge rescinded the gag on reporting the Robinson story in response to a challenge from LeedsLive.

British law allows for expansive restrictions on the right to speak or publish regarding certain trials. These rules are framed with a general presumption that free reporting on court proceedings is of course a public good, unless a judge decides it "would give rise to a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice" that cannot be overcome by "less restrictive means."

Robinson's initial arrest for livestreaming was announced at the time as an arrest for "breach of the peace." While he was in custody, the authorities discovered he had already been arrested last May for filming in front of and inside a court building where a rape trial involving four Muslim defendants was being held. Robinson had been given a suspended three-month sentence at the time, and if he did nothing more to get the court's attention in 18 months following, he would not actually serve the time. Now he is, plus 10 more months for last week's livestreaming.

In America, the recourse for defendants who suffer prejudicial publicity generally isn't to lock up the reporters. Overturned convictions are more likely, though even those are rare.

The British blog The Secret Barrister is firmly on the side of existing British law and perfectly happy Robinson is in prison:

To avoid jurors having their deliberations contaminated by what they might read or hear about the earlier linked trials, reporting of all of them is often postponed until the end....This is what we had here. The judge had imposed a postponement order preventing the media from reporting on the ongoing trial until all linked trials had concluded.

Breaching a reporting restriction amounts to a contempt of court.

That's it as far as the Barrister is concerned: crime committed, justice served with 13 months in jail. Those who see Robinson's imprisonment as any kind of restriction on free speech, the blogger writes, are "ye of little brain. He was found to be in contempt of court...because his actions put a serious criminal trial in jeopardy. Running around a court building shouting 'paedophile' at defendants during a live trial, or live-streaming defendants and members of the public—potentially including jurors—entering and exiting a court building against a tub thumping narration of 'Muslim paedophile gangs', is hardly conducive to ensuring a fair trial."

But jurors can be instructed, as they generally are in the U.S., to judge based on the evidence presented in court, not on something they heard some guy with a camera scream. Jurors apt to reach verdicts based on "but I heard a guy shouting in the hall he was guilty" have problems no amount of secret and draconian speech restrictions can solve.

Over a year in jail, especially for someone who is a thorn in the side of a regnant national ideology, feels politically punitive to many of Robinson's supporters. A sympathetic German MP is offering Robinson political asylum. Fox News points out many recent refusals on the part of Britain to let in anti-Muslim activists shows an ongoing prejudice against the ideology on the part of that government.

I am unsure how frequently this law is broken (though British officials have for years also trolled the internet for violators of enforced legal proceeding privacy), nor do I know how people who do not have Robinson's political baggage tend to be treated when arrested for this offense. But a November 2000 NYU Law Review article by Joanna Armstrong Brandwood argues that the relevant law, the Contempt of Court Act,

has proven, at times, both stiflingly strict and woefully ineffective....[C]ritics charge that both the definition of contempt and the extent of the public affairs exemption are unworkably vague. Wide discretion granted to authorities increases both the uncertainty for publishers and the dangers of selective enforcement. This has a chilling effect on free speech, and, not surprisingly, the amount of information published in Britain about the courts and criminal cases noticeably has declined since 1981....From an American perspective, the British law of contempt unnecessarily and inadvisably restricts freedom of the press. While the media might interfere with criminal defendants' fair trial rights, it also has an important role in securing those rights....The British law of contempt limits the effectiveness of the press as a guarantor of individual liberties, thereby potentially compromising the very values it seeks to protect. British commitment to the preservation of the right to a fair trial is commendable, but the heavy club of contempt of court may not be the wisest tool with which to secure that right.

Perhaps Robinson was treated exactly as he would have been if he were a radical vegan reporting on a series of criminal cases involving meat eaters. Even were that the case, and despite the excuses offered by British law, jail for reporting on a criminal case is on its face a blow to both free speech and the public interest, and a jury system that requires such laws has flaws such rules cannot be expected to remedy.

Photo Credit: Pete Maclaine/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Perhaps Robinson was treated exactly as he would have been if he were a radical vegan reporting on a series of criminal cases involving meat eaters. Even were that the case, and despite the excuses offered by British law, jail for reporting on a criminal case is on its face a blow to both free speech and the public interest, and a jury system that requires such laws has flaws such rules cannot be expected to remedy.

    Now do arresting people for handing out jury nullification fliers in front of courthouses.

  • Brian Doherty||

    We cover that stuff all the time, many such examples here: http://reason.com/search?q=jury+nullification

  • Azathoth!!||

    Yeah--but you leave out all the equivocating.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The cops figured out a loop hole when they sent the jury nullification guy to a psych ward.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "The arrest last Friday, as Fox News reports, happened because Robinson was filming Muslim men "accused of being part of a gang that groomed children."

    "His imprisonment was for violating what the British system calls a "postponement order" on any public reporting of an ongoing court case, in this case because it involves a series of linked trials. "

    It's good to see the UK judicial system doesn't turn a blind eye to criminal activity.

  • ||

    No shit.

    I see what you did there.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    This sort of proves the need for a second ammendment. Eact year, Western governments show more deference to groups with a reputation for terrorism.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Lawless, fake-named, violent bigots have rights, too.

    Knowledge is good. This incarceration is bad. There must be a better way to arrange the end of this guy's interference with the judicial system.

  • John||

    Yeah because filming defendants and allowing the public to know what is happening in a trial is really interfering with it. It is posts like these that make me think you are a troll act. I worry that I think you are one because the thought of someone actually being as ignorant and vicious as you appear to be is too frightening to contemplate.

  • ace_m82||

    No, he must ascribe to the Observer effect, that simply observing the trial affects the outcome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect (physics)

    Further proof of the need for the government to tell us nothing we don't "need to know" and lie to us about the rest!

    Praise be to the government!

  • Widsith||

    The interference isn't with the current trial, it's with linked trials that follow it. Here's the idea: Two people are accused of the same crime. They're given separate trials. The first guy is convicted, and it gets written up in the news. Then the second guy goes on trial. Some of the people on his jury have read about the first trial and are thinking, "The first defendant was guilty, so this one must be guilty too since they were arrested and charged together." To avoid that situation, the judge can issue a postponement order to keep all the reporting on hold until both trials are over.

    I'm not saying I agree that's the best way to handle it, but that's the justification for the way it's done.

    Perhaps it has something to do with the way jury selection is done in the UK. It's not like the US, where the lawyers ask the jury questions during selection and get to eliminate the ones they think won't be impartial. In the UK the jurors are selected randomly from a pool of potential jurors and assigned to a case without being questioned by the attorneys. If there's an issue that would keep a potential juror from being unbiased, like "The defendant was my college roommate" or "The prosecutor is my brother-in-law" or "I already read about the other four guys being convicted for this so I'm sure Number 5 is guilty too" then the juror is supposed to VOLUNTEER that information to the court without being asked. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_.....180764.stm

  • damikesc||

    Reporting is now interference. Got it.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Reporting is spying, according to current wingnut orthodoxy.

    Right-wing positions will change, of course, when the "Spygate" is on the other foot.

  • Poor and Dumb||

    You...don't know anything about what's happening do you? On basically any subject?

  • Libertymike||

    Do you remember what I penned yesterday about assuming posters like Rev. Arthur are not the obnoxious analphabets they paint themselves as on the intertubez and that they are actually pleasant and reasoned folk?

    If not, good. If you do remember, I retract every word of it.

  • Finrod||

    I'm not sure which would be worse, that he's accidentally ignorant or that he's intentionally ignorant.

  • Ecoli||

    Ignorance can be temporary. Stupidity is permanent.

  • Juice||

    Reporting is spying

    When done on things that are private matters, yes.

  • Poor and Dumb||

    "fake-named"

    Because you're actually a Reverend named Arthur L. Kirkland?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Even reporting that Robinson had been sentenced to more than a year in jail for what could certainly be seen as an act of pure free expression was itself under a legal gag order.

    Consider this comment a citizen's arrest on Doherty.

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    'But jurors can be instructed, as they generally are in the U.S., to judge based on the evidence presented in court, not on something they heard some guy with a camera scream. Jurors apt to reach verdicts based on "but I heard a guy shouting in the hall he was guilty" have problems no amount of secret and draconian speech restrictions can solve.'

    So the take away is the English courts believe their citizenry incompetent and stupid. Got it, at least it's thematically consistent with the whole police-state vibe they've been working on so hard.

  • sparkstable||

    Also explains monarchy. God knew the plebs and peasants needed to be controlled.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Not only the English courts, but also any idiot who supports the law itself, like The Secret Barrister. In their view, the scenarios is thus:

    "Jurors, you are to only consider the evidence and testimony presented in this trial in determining the verdict."

    American jurors: "Okay."

    Brit jurors: "But that bloke screaming in the 'all was loud and obnoxious, 'e was! 'Ow can I not consider that in me deliberations?""

  • Ken Shultz||

    I've been writing about this for days in comments. It doesn't surprise me that Doherty was the one to write about it. He remains a legit libertarian--if ever there was one. Thank goodness for Doherty and Sullum.

    I believe it was from Doherty that I first read the idea that the true mission of libertarians has always been to create more libertarians. Surely, if there's a second mission, it's standing up for people's rights--even if we don't like the people in the headlines.

    "In America, the recourse for defendants who suffer prejudicial publicity generally isn't to lock up the reporters."

    The UK is what America might be like without regard for the First Amendment. Never forget that in addition to protecting our liberties in law, the First Amendment is a huge part of what it is that makes us American. Other countries in the British commonwealth don't have the First Amendment. Attacks on it aren't only irrational and authoritarian. They're also un-American.

  • Azathoth!!||

    No. A legit libertarian would have had an article out while the ban was still in place.

    And there'd be less equivocation.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yeah, I left my Mohammed cartoons at home on this trip, because I expected to head back soon after Shavuot, but I ended up improvising by accedent. To make a long story short, I am not allowed on the Temple Mount anymore, because the Jordanian religious police thought my legs were too sexy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Over a year in jail, especially for someone who is a thorn in the side of a regnant national ideology, feels politically punitive to many of Robinson's supporters."

    There are two ultimate ironies in attacks on freedom of speech (and freedom of the press).

    1) Depriving awful people of the means to say awful things hides their awfulness from the general public. If you want to make racists look bad to the general public, don't silence them. Put them on camera and give them a microphone.

    2) Tommy Robinson was a co-founder of the English Defense League, which is generally seen as somewhere between racists like National Front skinheads and football hooligans. When it seems impossible for a group like that to win any measure of popularity, just violate their rights and watch the impossible happen. People all over the world who wouldn't have any sympathy for Tommy Robinson otherwise are rushing to his defense because the UK is violating his natural rights.

    If you don't want to create sympathy for people, do not violate their rights.

  • John||

    The irony is by refusing to protect its citizens from Muslim gangs and predators the English government has ensured that Robinson will be popular and continue to be popular. If a government cannot fulfill the basic functions of ensuring its citizens' safety and security, its citizens will turn to those who will. And those people are not going to be anyone you want to meet or be anywhere near power.

  • I can't even||

    This - they were trying to hide the multiple cases of mass rape on underage English girls by immigrants. Doesn't fit the popular narrative so they went all Orwell on Robinson.

  • John||

    They let it happen and didn't care because they were more afraid of offending Muslim sensibilities than they were concerned about the safety of their own citizens.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Our progtards would do the same here if given enough power. They are only restrained by their capacity to achieve this goal.

  • vek||

    Yup. By not admitting the problems immigrants were bringing into the country, and not dealing with those problems, people like Tommy are inevitable... Because even as cucked as most people in the western world are nowadays, people will only take so much. When they find out kids are being raped, that the cops know about it, and won't do a damn thing... Even cucks are gonna get pissed and do something about it.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Robinson is defending Italy the reasonable party in this situation. Britain's Islamic immigrant population is completely out of control. As is their Marxist leaning government. I encourage the British people to overthrow their Marxist overlords.

  • IceTrey||

    Muslim is not a race.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So what?

  • Poor and Dumb||

    Which isn't really relevant to racism, as currently defined. Don't blame me, but there it is.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Pakistani is an ethinicity. Remember those Reason articles urging an end to child brides in India? There is a lag between when a nation's life expectancy increases and when it's age of consent increases. The age of consent is still 12 in Mexico. I am not familiar enough with Townhall to call it a trusted source, but its article about MS13 sugest we might have a similar situation in America.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "The age of consent is still 12 in Mexico."

    I'm sure Tony will be on the next plane to Tijuana. A chickenhawk like him would run wild plowing all those young boys.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Ken, you hit the nail on the head on this one. The UK is effectively turning Robinson from some fringe guy into a martyr for his cause. A more effective strategy would be to allow Robinson unfettered speech to expose himself for what he is.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    I read about this really obnoxious activist who attacked a currency exchange facility who became popular after the goverment over responded. ;)

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Oh, how different England is from the United States.

  • Alcibiades||

    Oh, how different England is from the United States.

    Or what a different path they've chosen given that the Founding Fathers were both educated by and drew on British philosophers and thinkers when they wrote our Constitution.

    Until recently I wasn't aware that this influence was even greater than I'd previously thought, particularly from members of the Scottish Enlightenment:

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/05/09/heres-
    quick-guide-intellectual-influences-american
    -founders-mentors/

  • John||

    The difference between the UK and the US is that the US depended upon a written constitution and bill of rights that is very hard to change to save us from tyranny and the UK depended upon the monarchy.

    The UK brought back the monarchy after Cromwell and replaced the Stuarts with William of Orange after the Glorious Revolution because they understood the dangers of the tyranny of Parliment and wanted to keep a monarch to step in and prevent that from happening again. The monarchy's single job is to ensure there was never another Cromwell. And the sad fact is the English Monarchy has failed. It should have stood up to Parliment and refused to give the Royal Seal to oppressive laws and it never has. It also should have never allowed the House of Lords to lose its power. The UK has turned into a tyranny by Parliment because the Monarchy whose job it was to prevent it failed to do so.

  • damikesc||

    That would require royals who have to work for their insanely lavish government subsidies.

  • vek||

    This is one of the things that has always amazed me...

    Politicians in the states are just people. They may have a connection to the country, have families etc... But they're not ROYALTY. I cannot understand how all of the royalty in Europe is intentionally pushing policies that are destroying their own nations! It just seems like the kind of pride/arrogance of "My ancestors have ruled this land for 1,000 years, we conquered and subjugated 1/4 of the world, and I'll be damned if I let that get destroyed!" should come into play somewhere along the line.

    It blows my mind how a British Jew like Tommy Robinson is displaying more interest in the survival of British civilization than the Royal Family of England is. Mind blowing.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    British Jews know that they will be among the first killed if the UK spirals into a dictatorship. British royals also know this and figure the trend will reverse itself before all the Jews are gone.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    They just need t get rid of most of their Muslims, while they still can.

  • vek||

    Yeah I reckon they will if the UK becomes a Muslim majority nation... But it's still mind boggling how the people you would expect to be proud of British heritage, AKA the nobility, seem to care less than the working class, or a guy like Robinson.

  • ThomasD||

    How? Why?

    Largely because they can, and because they are neither as smart nor as educated as they think themselves to be.

    Look at the history of Europe - e.g. the Thirty Years War - and see what they and their ilk have wrought.

    Also consider that evenly a poorly educated Windsor knows their ancestors have not ruled for a thousand years, and may very well accept that their operational time frame may be much shorter than you imagine. So in that sense you might see how they could be more concerned about keeping up appearances among their own 'smart set' - whether it be the fashion on the ski slopes, or the fashion of embracing the exotic Musulmen withing their borders

  • Bubba Jones||

    The Scotts aren't so fond of England...

  • ThomasD||

    + 100

    When people say "the US was founded on enlightenment principles" they are sort of correct. And usually they are speaking generally of something they have been told generally. They mostly are not speaking from any familiarity or deep understanding of the subject. What they say is close enough to correct so as to not be corrected, sadly leaving them rather ignorant of the actual truth.

    The truth is that those "enlightenment principles" were almost wholly those of the Scottish Enlightenment. You cannot read Thomas Reid et.al. and not see the parallels.

    While I recognize that some of the Founders were familiar with Continental Enlightenment principles (Jefferson, to be sure) I think much of what came out of the revolution involved a conscious choice to speak in terms and concepts that the group would recognize, understand, and (ultimately) agree to support. In that sense the Declaration of Independence was as much a document of retail politics as it was a statement of high ideals.

  • chipper me timbers||

    Only America has a first amendment. No other country has free speech rights that even come close. God bless the founding fathers for their foresight on this one.

  • Alcibiades||

    The US is also pretty unique with regard to our Second Amendment. I think only two other nation's encode such a right into their constitutions and not sure how they're philosophically grounded.

  • Juice||

    China has Article 35: "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration."

    You can find other "freedom of speech" articles in the constitutions of other countries that most certainly do not have free speech.

    It's just a piece of paper.

  • ||

    Note the difference between "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy" and "Congress shall make no law." One is an imperative, the other a lie.

  • sparkstable||

    You mean God bless the French and British philosophers who constructed the idea and discovered the merits of and defended the right of free speech, like Voltair. Our guys were like what Lenin was to Marx... only much better and working from better material.

    Except Hamilton. Screw that guy.

  • I can't even||

    Orwell was an Englishman. They seem to be using his books as instruction manuals.

  • Alcibiades||

    Orwell was an Englishman. They seem to be using his books as instruction manuals.

    Also a man of the left who was far too intelligent not to know what socialist policies actually meant, namely, giving the state powers the Spanish Inquisition could have only dreamt of. Orwell's 1984 was supposed to be a critique of the Left and their fellow travellers as he saw them in 1948.

    Animal Farm is one of the 20th century's great books.

  • IceTrey||

    It only took Reason 5 days to catch on to this huge free speech case.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Phony libertarians wouldn't write about this story--even when free speech is supposed to be their beat--so we had to wait for Doherty or Sullum.

    That's my takeaway.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The folks who seem most exercised about this are the faux libertarians.

  • Ecoli||

    Agreed. The left seems rather nonplussed.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, this is what they want.

    They want the government to outlaw hate speech, they want to silence the critics of their so called tolerance, and they want to use the coercive power of government to go after such people.

    Progressivism is all about using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices (especially of their rights) for the common good.

    In that light, what is there to criticize here? They see the government doing a good job.

  • John||

    They want to be able to prevent the media from being able to report on things that reflect poorly on liberalism.

  • Ed Grinberg||

    It's difficult to pool the wool over people's eyes with the media reporting on you all the time...

  • damikesc||

    True. Progs not caring about rights isn't a new phenomenon.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I'm sure Reason is more motivated by open borders than by this sort of injustice.

  • ThomasD||

    Bingo. Gotta be careful when the 'good guy' of the story is a nativist.

    Any criticisms must be leavened with heavy equivocating.

  • Cranedoc||

    This is what happens when there is no Constitutional Law which may not be changed by a simple majority of lawmakers.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    This is so true. We, as libertarians, rightly state that our rights aren't derived from a piece of paper. While that's true in principle, in practice we would be right there with the UK if not for our Constitution. While our Constitution has been bent and stretched beyond something that the founders would likely recognize today, it hasn't broken... yet. "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan

  • Elias Fakaname||

    On a related note, Hillary wants to shitcan the electoral college. Big shock.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    She said it should be one person, one vote. Except of course for the DNC primary system.

  • Eidde||

    There's a public affairs exception? It must not be much of an exception if it allows a summary punishment like this for reporting on a trial with major public-affairs significance (government incompetence, immigration policy, etc.).

  • Ecoli||

    So, the UK has neither a first nor second amendment right. They are our backward cousins.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    And yet we go all looney tunes every time one of their royals changes their clothes. I can never understand why we fetishize the monarchistic bums we threw out over 200 years ago.

  • damikesc||

    I do not either. A family that burns through millions doing, approximately, jack shit is popular in the US because some of their kids are hella-woke.

  • Benitacanova||

    Who goes looney? Maybe gays and housewives. Or maybe just gay housewives.

  • Ecoli||

    I agree. I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing the name "Markle". It sounds like something out of "Laugh In".

    I predict the sparkle will be off the Markle within 5 years, then sad Harry will take up with a mean-spirited, horse faced royal just like daddy did.

  • Headache||

    In the day, Markie was eye candy.

    watt-up.com/j_gallery/Markie_Post/Markie_Post

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Markie Post had terrific tits.

  • vek||

    The royal family in England hasn't been all that impressive for a long time. I don't have a fetish, but some of the other nobles in England have been incredibly awesome/badass people. They used to command armies, fight in the field even, be great orators, etc. The royals haven't done shit like that for a couple hundreds years at least, they've become total layabouts! AND they're not even cool people. So definitely don't get the fetish.

    Now Lord Monckton, THAT guy is awesome!

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It's like watching the neighbor's hot wife tanning by the pool. Plenty of fun without the bills.

  • ThomasD||

    We?

    You on staff at ABCMSNBCBSFOX?

    People trying to sell me what they want to buy get ignored and sometimes ridiculed.

    Like they guy at the oil change place trying to upsell me an 'engine performance restoration' treatment on a car with 10k miles.

  • ||

    "accused of being part of a gang that groomed children."

    Just to check my queen's English to Murican english dictionary: this is 'sex-y traffick-y' grooming and not 'radicalizing' grooming, right?

  • John||

    And they didn't just groom them. They raped them. This is a rape gang. I am not sure why Doherty didn't call it what it is.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Because Reason does nothing without equivocation.

  • John||

    It is worth noting that Reason didn't say a word about this story until after the UK judge lifted the gag order on reporting it. And it hasn't said a word about the mass rape trial that Robinson was arrested for covering.

    Reason, even though they are an American publication, was unwilling to defy a tyrannical gag order put emplace by a British judge. And they still won't break the gag order on the rape trial. They seem to be all about truth to power and fighting the forces of tyranny I guess.

    Reason is only a friend to liberty if being so does not require them to break with Progressive PC cultural dictates. If it does, then reason suddenly becomes very timid.

  • Eidde||

    The Daily Mail does U. S. coverage, Reason could do U. K. coverage, everyone wins.

  • John||

    They often do. They just did not here. They should have immediately reported it and made it a point to report on both the trial and the arrest to break both gag orders. The fact that they have not does not say good things about them.

  • sparkstable||

    You mean it goes from Reason to "Because reasons..."

  • vek||

    Yeah, I thought this was very low of them. I knew why though... Can't support the rights of a British Jew if he's committing wrong think! Even if his wrong think is largely based on objective facts...

  • JonFrum||

    "a tub thumping narration of 'Muslim paedophile gangs',"

    Please note the original scare quotes. As if it weren't a fact that HUNDREDS of girls were groomed, or simply kidnapped, and gang raped by Pakistani Muslim men. And the police knew, and did nothing about it - for fear of being accused of being racist or Islamophobic. Community and youth facility workers also knew, and also looked away. And when the story finally came to light, the reaction from the Left was that these girls were white trash anyway, so who cares.

    Not 'Muslim paedophile gangs.' Muslim paedophile gangs. No scare quotes. Gang rape on a vast scale is scary enough.

  • John||

    And they were raping the girls not "grooming them". Using the word "grooming" implies they are on trial for attempt or being too friendly instead of rape, which is what they did.

    This is a story that Reason just hates. They have to report it because of the free speech implications. But it is easy to see how much it hurt Doherty to have to report on Muslims doing horrible things. He must have drawn the short straw or something.

  • Benitacanova||

    Plus they pimped these girls, and Reason doesn't believe sex trafficking exists. All 'sex workers' are happy horny and enterprising.

  • Headache||

    The Brits have open borders. So Reason would not touch the story about immigrant rape gangs. But this is a speech story.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    At thought we were only looking at allegations a this point. I generally presume innocence until the trial is over.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The British people should revolt, and violently overthrow their progressive leaders. Anyone protecting child rapists should die horribly. And the child raping Muslim scum should be driven from their shores.

  • AZ Gunowner||

    THIS is the only solution now for the whole of Europe.

    Unfortunately they have no choice but a war of genocide or submission to Islam.

    They'll submit.

    A few will go down fighting, mostly those that used to be behind the Iron Curtain.

    But the "free" nations will not permit their citizens to protect themselves any longer.

    The sad thing is that there a LOT of people on this side of the Atlantic that want to follow Europe.

  • ||

    What's the 'ye of big brain' of The Secret Barrister's opinion of the the sophisticated English legal system, political classes, and law enforcement ignorant Muslim rape gangs of children?

    What a shit hole.

    I truly hope and pray the 'ye of little brains' of Canada doesn't follow in the footsteps of our cousins with 'ye of crooked teeth' who like to prevent parents from moving around freely while starving their kids to the death so that all must bow before Zod and NHS.

  • ||

    ignoring. not ignorant.

    Yeesh.

    Anyway. To add.

    Here they are acting as if they have some kind of honour and dignity pushing around one little guy.

    What cowards.

  • Arcxjo||

    If only there were some way to have a free press but take jurors and sequester them away grin access to news during a trial. Maybe they could call it "hideeholeation", or something like that.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I wonder why they use the euphemism "grooming" instead of "sex trafficking holding pen for girls who are too young even for sex traffickers."

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    His imprisonment was for violating what the British system calls a "postponement order" on any public reporting of an ongoing court case, in this case because it involves a series of linked trials. The theory is that reporting on one before the others are over could undermine defendants' ability to have a fair trial. The judge who sent Robinson away justified the severity of the punishment by invoking the potential costs of any retrial made necessary by Robinson's actions.

    No no no, that can't possibly be the case. I've been told all weekend that Robinson went to jail because UK judges are so in favor of PC that they send bigots to jail and protect Muslim rape gangs. You mean that there was actually some legal basis for Robinson's imprisonment that doesn't cast UK judges as caricatures of multi-culti PC warriors? No way!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    And no, I am not in favor of Robinson's imprisonment either.

  • Libertymike||

    There are also legal "rationales" and "theories" that justify the following:

    (1) qualified immunity for cops;

    (2) absolute immunity for prosecutors;

    (3) absolute immunity for judges;

    (4) sovereign immunity for cities, counties, states, and nations;

    (5) extending the statute of limitations to cover conduct which, if it had transpired, was beyond the existing statute of limitations;

    (6) coercing association;

    (7) conscription, otherwise known as sacrificing an individual's life for prosecution of the king's wars;

    (8) the admission of a dead man's alleged "statements" into evidence;

    (9) the admission of "excited utterances" of an unavailable witness into evidence; and

    (10) all manner of violations of the NAP.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Oh I agree that there are legal justifications for all sorts of unlibertarian behavior. My point was about how people on the right portrayed this case. Turns out that Robinson broke a rule that was facially neutral with regards to the content of his speech, even if the rule itself is dumb and terrible. But on the right, his imprisonment was portrayed as punishment for his speech by UK judges drunk on the PC koolaid.

  • Libertymike||

    Just to signal my own virtues, if an Hispanic immigrant, Maria, who had horrible English communication skills, was charged with the double murder of Lew Rockwell and Judge Napolitano, and the prosecution's only evidence against Maria consisted of Lew's dying declaration that "Maria did it," I would vigorously argue that such evidence should not be admitted into evidence.

    Judges have long opined that such evidence should be admitted into evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule because dying declarations have "the indicia of reliability." Put another way, the courts reason that such evidence is almost always truthful because, they ask,
    what reason would a dying man have to lie?

    In law school, I attacked the premise as mere speculation. That is what it is - baseless speculation. Yet, the rationale cited by the courts is regarded as received wisdom.

  • GrumpyMel||

    The words "selective enforcement" come to mind. It's not just that a rule exist that on it's face (though pretty horrible) is content neutral.... it's that enforcement of it isn't necessarily content neutral.

    The question to ask is was Robinson's treatment and sentence different then whether his political stance had been different..... I think you'll find many examples to indicate that others were not treated with the same degree of severity (or punished at all) in similar situations.

  • sparkstable||

    IF I were to operate from an acceptance of the British rules (infinitely large IF)...

    The difference in treatment based on political content may exist, bit does not refute the possibility that his treatment is consistent with that of other repeats violators of law (this isn't his first trip to jail). Thus... it is POSSIBLE that the variance in content may be irrelevant if others with similar criminal histories were treated the same.

    Still shouldn't be in jail though, based on justice and not "law."

  • ThomasD||

    "I am not in favor of Robinson's imprisonment either."

    Then what the fuck were you doing with your initial post?

    If his imprisonment was unjustified then no justification is sufficient So what if the conservative boogeyman living rent free in your head 'thought' this was all about whatever it is you imagine he (or anyone else) thinks it to be? That doesn't exactly excuse the judge for imprisoning a man on the possibility that his reporting of the event might alter the outcome, or increase the expense to the state.

    There you go seeking to privilege intention (imagined or otherwise) over actual actions.

    But you just couldn't help yourself, could you?

  • ThomasD||

    For such a 'radical' individualist you sure seem to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other people may think.

  • John||

    The rule is absurd. Countries all over the world have pretrial publicity and still manage to have a fair trial. The idea that because a jury knows one defendant was convicted they are somehow compromised from giving a fair trial to another is absurd. All this rule does is allow the government to keep cases it finds embarrassing out of the media.

    I am totally unsurprised that you support this. Of course, you think it is okay for the government to prevent media coverage of things they don't like. It fits with every other position you hold.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I am totally unsurprised that you support this.

    Umm...

    chemjeff radical individualist|5.30.18 @ 2:30PM|#

    And no, I am not in favor of Robinson's imprisonment either.

  • Devastator||

    No trial is fair, because humans aren't fair, but it's about the best we can do.

  • I can't even||

    So instead of sequestering the jury, they suppress free speech nation-wide. Then they pretend it isn't politically motivated.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I agree it's a dumb and illlibertarian rule. But it doesn't appear to be one specifically targeted at a particular ideology, unlike the narrative-pushers on the right would have us believe.

  • sparkstable||

    The right implies the enforcement is selective... not that the law is biased.

  • vek||

    Because it is. Selective enforcement of all kinds of laws and simply "moral standards" are the typical modus operandi of the left. The UK being the UK I'm sure it's even worse there than here.

    One example being their hate speech laws. I have yet to hear of a single case of saaay a Muslim or black Brit spouting off obvious anti-white rhetoric being arrested for their speech, yet the cases keep piling up of people merely questioning whether or not there might be downsides to mass immigration getting thrown in jail there/fined/etc.

    This case is just one more example of the bias in action.

  • ThomasD||

    " it doesn't appear to be one specifically targeted at a particular ideology"

    Other than, you know, the ideology that the interests of the state trump the interests of someone not otherwise harming anyone.

    Targeting at something some might even call libertarianism...

  • Devastator||

    Nope he is being sent to jail because most Muslim cases get special treatment and any criticism of individuals of that faith is considered politically incorrect by default. You had that much right. The legal basis which you refer to is merely the fact that Britain reserves the right to consult it's millions of pages of laws and pin you with something because an activist prosecutor has a hard on for getting more convictions. The British government is not in business to protect the individuals any longer it's is there to put people under jackboots and watch them wiggle for the enjoyment of the people in power.

  • Azathoth!!||

    No no no, that can't possibly be the case.

    And it's not.

    Everything Robinson was saying was from an article published by the BBC that did not violate the postponement order.

    See--the last time Robinson went to jail was for the same thing--trying to get word of these horrific crimes and the pandering to the pedophile rapists sensibilities out there.

    He made sure, this time, to not make the same mistakes.

  • Benitacanova||

    If you even "like" an article or comment that disses islam, you're in deep doodoo in today's UK.

  • damikesc||

    Well, come on. Islam has a long tradition of being understanding and friendly towards non-Muslims. Been that way since the beginning

  • I can't even||

    Hey - it's starting to sound like you are "disturbing the peace" and might need a good locking up for a year or so,

  • AZ Gunowner||

    The British seem to be intent on committing suicide.

  • GrumpyMel||

    This is how totalitarian states behave. It's pretty much clear at this point that the U.K. has become one.

  • ranrod||

    the UK has not only been destroyed by EU politicians, judges and the media but
    also by the HIJRAH they imported......

  • Devastator||

    He knew the risks. It sucks that Britain is turning into 1984-ville but that's what you get when you hand everything over to the government to solve. Cameras everywhere, freedom of speech when the government says you can have it, etc, etc

  • vek||

    Here's the thing: He SPECIFICALLY remained within the letter of the law not only on his gag order but on the reporting ban. I will post more details I have read below...

  • buybuydandavis||

    "The British far-right anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson"

    When reporting on Europe, do like the European MSM, and call everyone to the right of Mao "far-right".

  • buybuydandavis||

    "accused of being part of a gang that groomed children."

    I am tired of hearing this euphemism for child sex slavery.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    A charge of child sex slavery is easy to prove or disprove. "Grooming" is a more practical term, because it means teaching sex-ed classes without being a certfied gym teacher and includes every action from saying "Hi" to a kid on one extreme of the possibilities to gang banging a 4 year old on the other extreme. This allows for some covienient bait and switch routines. Consider this act:

    "Hey, that MS13 gang is making a lot of noise tonight."

    "Yeah, it sound like they are gang banging a 4 year old. Should we call the cops?"

    "The cops won't do anything, cause they don't want to look racist. Besides, your cousin will be next if we snitch."

    "Dude, it's child rape. We have to stop it."

    "Tell you what, I saw a stranger say, 'Hi,' to a kid yesterday. Let's talk to him tomorrow so he knows that coming to this neighborhood is bad for his health."

  • buybuydandavis||

    Government controls The Narrative, imprisoning reporter for reporting on child sex slavery rings in which the government was complicit, hiding the rings from the public because they didn't fit The Narrative.

    In a further effort to control The Narrative, the government threatens the entire nation with imprisonment if they report on the imprisonment of the first reporter.

    Sounds like freedom.

  • vek||

    This is not entirely accurate as I have heard the facts.

    Tommy knew 1. Of his suspended sentence. 2. Of the gag order.

    He therefore went through painstaking steps in what he filmed/said to not cross the line legally speaking. He was arrested for breach of the peace by police who knew who he was and about his suspended sentence... Because any arrest, not conviction, would automatically end his suspended sentence and put it into play immediately.

    Therefore they basically decided to take him down for not violating anything, because by the legal technicalities they could. And they don't want him out and about doing what he does.

    Those are the facts as I have heard them. Seems pretty clearly to be intentional bias because of his viewpoints. It may also be worth noting that Tommy himself is in fact a British Jew, a protected class himself! But one who didn't like some of the shady shit he saw going on in the Muslim community, saw the cops doing nothing, and felt he HAD to do something.

  • Gary Trieste||

    It is amazing and fortunate that we don't miss what we have.
    In America there is freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to a public trial.
    These are enshrined in the DNA of our nation, in the U.S. Constitution.
    We actually have a durable law to point to whenever the govt violates those edicts.
    What they did in Britain is unconscionable here, because of the bedrock law that stays in place.
    In Britain, they have cobbled together a collection of laws that are supposed to be the effective equivalent of our Const.'l rights, but because it is not fundamental to their legal system, morphing it into something else is not as legally traumatic.
    It does happen in America, but it is considered deviant and presumptively bizarre, and it is the govt that has to defend from weak position to do so.

  • TxJack 112||

    This is what happens when the government takes away your right to bear arms. It becomes very easy for them to strip you of all your other rights as well. I am sure no one ever thought the day would come when someone was imprisoned for speech in the UK since it has not happened since the days of Elizabeth I.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    I have read commentaries by leftist sides claiming that Tommy Robinson is no martyr to free speech. Their reasoning, if you read between the lines, is simply that they don't agree with his opinion. In the old days those on the left, once known as liberals, used Voltaire's famous quote to defend any speech. Hence, African America ACLU lawyers gladly defended Klansmen, pro bono, to defend this principal. But no more. Because there is no liberalism remaining on the left. So they argue that he didn't engage in free speech because he violated a bunch of legal technicalities in the law. Of course we all know that a law that is morally wrong doesn't provide justice. He this is ultimately a martyr to free speech because he was providing political speech, regardless of what the law says - of the degree you agree with his allegations.

  • Perry de Havilland||

    "I have read commentaries by leftist sides claiming that Tommy Robinson is no martyr to free speech."

    Because he isn't, and I am certainly not someone on the left.

    The execrable & ignorant way this storm has been reported on US sites of both Left & Right reminds me of the execrable & ignorant way gun rights issues in the USA get reported in the UK by both the Left & Right on this side of the Atlantic (i.e. clueless).

    This is not about England's much abridged common law right to free speech, it is about England's much abridged common law right to a fair trial, and most commentators on the 'right' (including libertarians) in the USA have no goddamn idea what they are talking about regarding the Tommy Robinson affair. These rules that Robinson unwisely broke are long standing, not some wicked SJW imposition, and for the most part they work just fine. Frankly not convinced the English system would be improved at all by emulating all too many aspect of the terrifying US justice system, even if I am an admirer of the First & Second Amemdments.

    Stick to critiquing US laws guys, as the stuff in the comments here is embarrassing. I believe it was Shaw who wrote that a barbarian is someone who mistakes his own tribe's customs for universal truths.

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