One of Britain’s most high-profile political activists was arrested outside the Leeds Crown Court in Yorkshire, England on Friday, setting the internet ablaze while a reporting ban barred British journalists from publishing about the event.
“Tommy Robinson, Founder of English Defence League, was arrested outside a court while filming as members of an alleged Muslim grooming gang reported to court for trial,” Big League Politics reported. “‘Grooming gangs’ as they are called in England are nothing more than child sex trafficking rings.“
Robinson was arrested on “suspicion of breaching the peace,” but jailed for contempt of court, another crime entirely. The tyrannical policy allows British police to arrest a suspect “on suspicion of” a crime, hold the suspect for up to 48 hours, and then charge the suspect with any crime, related or not to the arrest. In Britain, probable cause is unrelated to an eventual criminal charge. People are arrested for
The small distinction makes all the difference. The American justice system prosecutes crimes, not people. In Britain the policy is “show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Stalin, famous for that quote, would surely be proud.
But Robinson’s arrest and subsequent criminal charge is not the only tyranny being perpetrated against the British citizenry. The press is barred from reporting on the grooming trial. The official explanation for the reporting ban is that it assures that a jury will not be prejudiced by reading about the ongoing trial online. Additionally, this particular Muslim grooming gang is so large that the Crown Court split their trial into three separate events. The reporting ban will be in effect until later this year so that future juries are not prejudiced either.
Robinson was not jailed for filming per se, but rather for filming this particular trial. Essentially, the British government’s position is this: It is better to keep the entire public in the dark about a dangerous gang than risk that a single jury member might be influenced by a news report.
The idea of restricting the free press is lost on Americans, but apparently the Orwellian tactic is commonplace to the British.
But reporting on Robinson’s arrest is also banned, suggesting that the explanation of “jury prejudice” is just a pretext. After all, Robinson was tossed in the gulag for 13 months after a “trial” that spanned an afternoon. There is no jury to prejudice, yet a judge still ordered a media blackout.
Free speech activists rallied to Robinson’s defense, recognizing Orwellian nature of the ban. A video by Caolan Robertson, Robinson’s cameraman, shows a large group gathered in protest:
Hundreds protested on Downing Street in London, too:
Meanwhile, the first update on Robinson was released on his Facebook page:
“Tommy is safe and reports if his being attacked are untrue,” the post says. “If you want to support Tommy we ask that you use the hashtag #FreeTommy.”
“We want to say a huge thank you from all of us for the support of our friends at home, abroad, and in the international alternative media for reporting on this, the truly incredible amount of support Tommy has received and for continuing to keep the faith.”
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