'Tommy Robinson’ released on bail but will attend the Old Bailey for the Leeds allegation to be reheard.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to give him his actual name, remains a far-right extremist with a history of violence. His appeal over the original Canterbury conviction for contempt of court has been thrown out, and his Leeds conviction will be reheard. This is a man who admitted to breaking the law and nearly derailed a major trial. This verdict changes none of that.
While his supporters have been quick to declare his innocence, the Judgement Summary produced by the court clearly shows that this is not the case.
The judgment of the Court is to dismiss the appeal in respect of the committal for contempt at Canterbury Crown Court and to allow the appeal in respect of the committal for contempt at Leeds Crown Court. The appellant is granted bail and the matter of contempt at Leeds Crown Court is remitted to be heard again.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: “We are satisfied that the finding of contempt made in Leeds following a fundamentally flawed process, in what we recognise were difficult and unusual circumstances, cannot stand.”
“We will direct that the matter be reheard before a different judge.”
In other words, Lennon has only been released on bail and will have to return to court for the Leeds allegations to be reheard.
Not a ‘Martyr’
Although Lennon’s supporters have used his imprisonment to paint him as a “free speech” martyr in the battle against street grooming, his actions betray his true nature.
He’s been silent about serious sexual abusers within the English Defence League, the movement he co-founded, including one man given a 17-year prison sentence this February.
With his convictions for fraud and violence, his brawling and attempted physical intimidation against journalists and others he disagrees with, he has shown utter contempt for justice and the rule of law.
Lennon is backed by leading anti-Muslim figures in the US and elsewhere, floating fake news about “no-go” zones in Europe, weighing in to pay his legal bills, flying in politicians to speak on his behalf, promoting and amplifying his messages on social media, and even making representations on his behalf to the British ambassador in America.
Trump’s former Chief Strategist and ex-Breitbart boss Steve Bannon is a key figure here. The far-right strategist called Lennon the ‘backbone’ of Britain and is no doubt hoping to make him a core part of his new ‘movement’, using him as a front man to increase divisions and stoke anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim anger across Europe.
At the heart of this, Lennon now walks free, but remains an Islamophobe with a history of violence and someone who uses intimidation against his opponents. He claims to be a free speech martyr, yet reveals or exposes nothing the courts and legal system have not already exposed. He remains silent about serious sexual abusers within the English Defence League while ranting against Muslims. He is backed by powerful overseas figures with deep pockets, yet portrays himself a man of the people: it’s time we woke up to the real Tommy Robinson.
Reaction of the International Far Right
Unsurprisingly, Lennon has been vaulted as a released martyr since leaving prison this week. While locked up he became the cause célèbre of the international far right. As we have previously reported, it is in the US that Lennon has most caught the imagination of the right wing.
This support has been evident more broadly online. Lennon’s YouTube channel’s daily views over the last 30 days average out to 51,647, yet the video he uploaded following his release gained 7 times that in a single day and was shared 50,000 times in its first two hours on Facebook. Moreover, from 1-3 August he garnered over 394,000 new subscribers on his YouTube channel.
In addition to evidence that Lennon has received up to £20,000 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin since being jailed, it has also been revealed that he has been receiving significant US funding from the Middle East Forum. The story of his release was even big enough news for the New York Times to cover it both online and in print.
Clearly with an eye on exploiting his new found fame across the channel, Lennon chose Fox news as his first real post-release interview.
“I say a thank you to the Middle East Forum, a thank you to Congressman Gosar, a thank you to Ambassador Brownback, people — thank you to yourself, Tucker, people who come out — because we know that in this country, anyone who speaks about Islam — you can believe — you can be a complete liberal, the minute you mention, criticize Islam, you are deigned and attacked by everybody.” – Lennon on Fox News
While his first major interview was with Carlson he had already done an interview with his former employer Ezra Levant of Rebel Media.