by Paul Ellis 5th July 2019

Paul Ellis is the legal officer of the “For Britain Movement”

For Britain deplores the outrageous decision of the High Court to find Tommy Robinson in contempt of court for filming and speaking to defendants in a rape case as they attended court.

The contempt proceedings were pursued by the Attorney General even though Robinson has already served 2 months of a 13 month sentence – mostly spent in solitary confinement and living on starvation rations for his own protection – over the incident. An illegal sentence that the judge had  had no power to pass, but which he imposed after a shocking kangaroo court style hearing lasting less than ten minutes and with Tommy having had no right to prepare his case or instruct a lawyer.

In the many months that have passed since that sentence was overturned, Government (not CPS) lawyers have strained definitions and left no spurious argument unexplored to construct a justification to return Tommy to prison.

It is now clear to everyone that Robinson revealed nothing about the case and passed no comment that may have influenced the jury or otherwise prejudiced the trial. So the government have now argued that Tommy’s asking the defendant’s how they feel caused them ‘anxiety’ and that this, and reading to camera facts from the BBC website, should bow be enough to justify a contempt of court.

Contempt of court is a flexible legal concept of the sort which is generally a strength of the common law system. However, that flexibility of definition exists to provide the courts with the tools to protect their proceedings from any interference and corruption, no matter how unusual. It does not exist to provide scope for a court to make up offences as it goes along, defining, at the request of the government, forms of contempt that have never been prosecuted before and may never be prosecuted again, drafted for the sole purpose of finding the defendant to have breached them.  

The last two days proceedings have been a blatant show trial (how often does the Queen’s Bench Division sit at the Old Bailey?), but what lesson will the people take away from the show? No doubt, the milkshake throwers and sanctimonious rape-gang enablers will be gleeful. But the irony, as the most publicly vilified man in Britain faces being sent to prison for asking rapists how they feel will not be lost on the wider British public.

We are now a country that creates bespoke laws to silence political figures.

Our legal system, which centuries ago pretty much invented the rule of law, and even a few decades ago was rightly regarded as its gold standard has now been very publicly downgraded to tin pot, and the UK has taken one more worrying step away from democracy.