Ezra Levant – was able to tweet live from the court room the following is a basic chronological record of the tweets directly related to the appeal.
they are copied not edited
UK 10:16 AM – 18 Jul 2018
Ezra Levant – Still 15 minutes until Tommy Robinson’s appeal will begin. Tommy is represented by John Carson and Jeremy Dein and their junior counsel — four lawyers. The attorney general is represented by Louis Mably,
Ezra Levant – Tommy Robinson is not here in person — he will be joining via video link.
Ezra Levant – The trial has not commenced, but right now Tommy is visible on a video link. He is looking fit and alert, wearing a sharp black dress shirt. There is some back-and-forth regarding some technical problems with the video link.
Ezra Levant – Throughout the day (and if the appeal continues tomorrow) all of my videos on the subject will be compiled at http://www.TommyTrial.com . We will attempt to upload them as fast as possible, but of course we will be guided by restrictions laid down by the judge.
Ezra Levant – Just a reminder: Tommy’s case will be heard by a panel of three judges, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales — literally the most senior judge in the UK. We are in court 6, the same room where @Geoffrey_Cox was sworn in moments ago as Attorney General.
Ezra Levant – We are still eight minutes away from the commencement of the proceedings. At that point, I will immediately cease tweeting until we have clear instructions from the judge on what is permitted. If no live-tweeting is permitted, I’ll post updates during breaks.
Ezra Levant – Tommy is on a video link (from prison, I assume). He seems unaware that we can hear his every word — and, typical Tommy, he’s engaging in banter with whatever prison staff are with him. I’m impressed that he still has his sense of humour.
Ezra Levant – Tommy just said to someone near him that the results of the appeal “could be huge, politically”. I’m not sure who he’s speaking with, and he is obviously unaware that his voice is being broadcast into court. But I’m sure he’d say the same on the record.
Ezra Levant – There are five journalists (plus our Rebel cameraman) in the media gallery in the court. I introduced myself to the BBC man. He seemed pleasant enough, but I’m sure he’s here to bury, not to praise.
Ezra Levant – The Lord Chief Justice has just confirmed that we can live-tweet from court — subject only to the continuing publication ban in the Leeds Crown Court, that covers two rape gang trials there.
UK 10:45 PM – 18 Jul 2018
The Lord Chief Justice said he was pleased that so many members of the public were in attendance. He warned that some of the matters would be highly technical and asked that people be respectful as they come and go from the court room.
UK 10:46 AM – 18 Jul 2018
Jeremy Dein, QC — the barrister instructed by John Carson — is giving background to the court about the rape gang cases in Leeds.
Dein is referring to Tommy’s conviction of contempt of court in Canterbury in 2017, and the Leeds case this May.
Dein is indicating that he is appealing the conviction itself — of both matters. Ezra Levant – Obviously Dein needs the permission of the court given the delay
Dein is explaining how difficult it was for lawyers to meet with Tommy, given his speedy imprisonment.
Dein is making the case to the court to permit an appeal of the conviction itself, given that technically they’re out of time. (I predict the court will allow the delay.)
Dein is outlining just how difficult it was for Tommy to instruct lawyers, given how Tommy was treated in prison — limited phone calls, solitary confinement, etc. Ezra Levant – If Tommy were a leftist, @amnesty would surely be in court intervening in behalf.
Dein is describing an outrageous incident — Tommy’s solicitor, John Carson, had a meeting with Tommy at HMP Hull prison. But when Carson went to meet him — Tommy had been moved to HMP Onley prison. Ezra Levant – Outrageous.
Dein is now describing how one of Carson’s meetings with Tommy, which was scheduled for two hours, was cut down to less than an hour, because the prison delayed in bringing Tommy to the meeting. Ezra Levant – Scandalous.
Dein is describing how the government refused to furnish transcripts to Tommy and his lawyers touching on the conviction. The government had the documents, presumably. They just refused to give them to Tommy or his lawyers. Ezra Levant – Outrageous. As Tommy would say: a stitch-up.
Dein is describing other lawyers’ meeting at prison, where prison officials cut back the time by 65%. Tommy’s first best-seller is called “Enemy of the State”. To hear a senior QC describe in cold-blooded terms, just how abusive and high-handed the state has been, is chilling.
Ezra Levant – By the way, we still don’t know why the UK prison system moved Tommy from the (relatively) safe prison at HMP Hull to the dangerous prison HMP Onley, where Tommy needed to be in solitary confinement to survive Muslim prison gangs. A stitch-up.
The Lord Chief Justice has asked Dein why the appeal of the Canterbury conviction should be heard. There is an implication that the court accepts the extension to the Leeds conviction, due to irregularities, etc.
“Justice demands that time be extended” says Dein.
The Lord Chief Justice says Dein can make his arguments — as in, the extension will be decided on later; but Dein can proceed nonetheless.
Ezra Levant – BIG HEADLINE NO. 1: Tommy is not just appealing his sentence. He’s appealing the very conviction too. And not just in Leeds — in Canterbury. Ezra Levant – They’re going the whole mile.
Ezra Levant – BIG HEADLINE NO. 2: The treatment of Tommy whilst in prison, esp. the limits on his lawyers, has been outrageous and punitive — and it has directly brought the administration of justice into disrepute. Ezra Levant – I think the court is very attentive to that.
Ezra Levant – I hear Dein refer to Justice Leveson — the senior judge who was originally scheduled to hear this matter. It seems that Justice Leveson has written a key ruling in contempt of court law. Ezra Levant – I suspect that is why Leveson himself has been replaced as the judge here.
Dein has referred to the five-hour, drum-head trial of Tommy in Leeds — how speedily he was tried, convicted and sentenced. Dein is referring approvingly to Leveson’s ruling, pointing out how procedural fairness is especially important in such a hasty hearing.
Ezra Levant – Unlike U.S. and Canadian courts, the lawyer’s pleadings are not publicly available. We are therefore hearing about pleadings that the lawyers and judges have seen, but not the public.
Dein: “a great deal more than irregularity… occurred“
Some of the grounds of the appeal for the Leeds conviction: 1. Failure of the defendant to appreciate the details of the contempt complaint. “We do contend that the category of contempt… was not made clear by the learned judge.”
“The judge should not have proceeded summarily in these circumstances”. As in: why did it have to happen in five hours?
Lord Chief Justice: “there was obviously a need to try to remove the material from circulation. you wouldn’t criticize the judge for that?” Dein: “not at all”. It was done consensually.
Lord Chief Judge (paraphrased): so, given that Tommy offered to delete the Facebook livestream immediately, there was no need for an immediate trial? Dein: exactly.
Dein: The finding of contempt should be quashed.
Dein on timeline: livestream about 9:15 a.m.; court was aware of it very quickly; brought before the court mid-morning; was given a lawyer by around noon; sentencing right after lunch adjournment. “Significant, substantial loss of liberty on his behalf”.
Dein: Criminal procedure rules were not followed (for Tommy’s conviction).
Dein: there was not compliance with the rules. Lord Justice Leveson made the “unequivocal observation” that this is necessary. (How interesting that Leveson’s ruling is so central here!
Dein: “criminal procedure rules played no part in these proceedings”. Dein suggests that if they had been followed, there would not have been a hasty, summary hearing.
Dein: “The appellant was not given a reasonable opportunity to reflect and take advice” on his actions to mitigate them. Proceedings “unnecessarily and unjustly rushed.”
Dein: At no time was Tommy asked by the judge if he knew/accepted what the contempt was! As in: Tommy may have been contrite — but he and the judge may have had different ideas of what he did wrong! Tommy had asked for time to instruct a proper QC! It was denied!
Dein: Tommy was “incorrectly sentenced to a custodial sentence“. As in: prison was inappropriate.
Ezra Levant – Here are the rules of British criminal procedure when it comes to contempt. See s. 48: https://t.co/JHmVFEc3qK This is what Dein asserts was not followed.
Dein: “The prejudice to [Tommy] is that he has been treated as a prisoner who has been convicted and sentenced under the criminal sentencing regime… as opposed to a civil prisoner, civil prisoners are generally allowed privileges that criminal prisoners are not.”
Ezra Levant – Dein’s point is that Tommy has been treated like a murderer; not like a civil prisoner. His treatment in prison is a result of this improper procedure and result. He refers to few privileges (e.g. visits, phone calls, etc.)
Ezra Levant – I notice that Tommy Robinson is trending on Twitter in the UK.
Ezra Levant – Now seven MSM journalists here, in addition to our Rebel cameraman Ed.
Ezra Levant – Courtroom is pretty full — 90% Tommy supporters; I see a sharia activist here who’s tweaking me.
Lord Chief Justice is asking how the Canterbury contempt ruling (a year ago) is unfair, given that it was done at a slower pace (with legal counsel). Dein acknowledges Canterbury was fairer procedurally, but there remains a substantive flaw in that conviction.
Dein and the judges getting into dense legal procedure — hard to follow without copies of the pleadings or case law in question. Tommy is sitting on the video screen; I think he can hear, but it’s pretty abstruse even for us right here in the room.
Lord Chief Justice mentions that in Leeds there was an application by the defendants to disqualify the trial given Tommy’s live-streaming. Dein indicates that application was denied, and it did not in fact compromise the trial.
Dein: “right from the outset Tommy offered to take the livestream down“. “Any thoughts he had of disrupting the trial — he had none”. “Showing maximum cooperation“.
Ezra Levant – “In terms of assessing the level of criminality Tommy made repeated reference [in the livestream] to reporting restrictions”. As in: Tommy clearly didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.
Dein points out that Tommy’s comments were in the public domain, “a number of press articles“. Of course, as anyone who watched the Livestream knows, Tommy was simply reading from those other publications.
Very interesting! Lord Chief Justice points out that, given how many other media had published the same facts, it was important for his alleged breach to be specified to him.
Chief Justice: “there has to be absolute clarity what the accused person is being accused of.” This was a key point by Dein — Tommy may have plead guilty to one thing in his mind while the judge had quite another in his mind. Since it wasn’t particularized.
P.S. Here are all the other British MSM who are still violating the publication ban that Tommy was convicted of breaking: https://t.co/XOkgpIQzQw
Dein and the Lord Chief Justice are going back and forth acknowledging that Tommy was not standing anywhere inappropriately; he said the defendants were merely “alleged” criminals, not convicted, etc. This is strong.
Dein indicates that Tommy knew he was being observed by police and in fact conferred with one to confirm that he was conducting himself appropriately. Dein says this shows Tommy was acting in good faith as a journalist.
Ezra Levant – Tommy was “conducting himself in a manner that, in his own mind, was vigilant“. “When the matter was brought to his attention… he was willing to mitigate any damage he had done.”
Dein refers to a legal seminar that we at @therebeltv set up for Tommy at a leading law firm, Kingsley Napley, where Tommy was given a deep briefing on how to stay on the right side of the law. Dein mentions this as an indication of Tommy’s good faith conduct.
Dein says that Tommy’s public defender lawyer in Leeds simply did not have enough time to get properly briefed on his client in time. It was just too rushed.
Dein is giving other examples of Tommy’s good faith — including his work with the Quilliam Foundation. Dein’s point seems to be: none of this character/background was adduced in Leeds. It was too rushed; the lawyer on hand didn’t know Tommy’s background.
Dein says it was not brought forth at trial/sentencing that Tommy was “seeking to better himself” in respect of journalism, and a legitimate campaign against Islamic extremism. “It should have made some difference” to the length of Tommy’s sentence.
Dein says that Mr. Mably, the Attorney General’s delegate here, has minimized in his filed documents Tommy’s mistreatment at the hands of the prison system.
Dein repeats the reduction of legal visits in prison; notes that Tommy has had no “discipline problems” in prison, etc. A model prisoner.
Dein says there is no “rehabilitative aspect” whatsoever. He is only permitted 30 minutes of yard time per day. Not permitted to work. Not permitted to attend church. Not permitted to talk with his children (because of his solitary confinement).
Ezra Levant – One of the other judges notes that these abuses were done at the hands of the prison authorities. That’s technically true — but how on earth does that make it more acceptable from Tommy’s point of view?
The Lord Chief Justice chimes in to clarify — noting that his Tommy’s time in prison “is much tougher than if he weren’t subject to his restrictions”.
Dein notes that Tommy has been attacked in prison before — and Tommy’s public defender in Leeds didn’t have that information in hand at his speedy hearing.
Dein notes that Tommy’s treatment in prison is that usually reserved for the most dangerous criminals.
Ezra Levant – Let me come back to an earlier point: Tommy’s lawyer says that Tommy has not been permitted to attend church in prison. I don’t think Tommy’s particularly religious. But could you imagine if Tommy were Muslim, and if he were prohibited from praying five times a day? Unthinkable.
Dein is pointing out that Tommy’s sentence is disproportionate and does not comport with precedent for similar cases. Dein points out that the public defender didn’t have time to make these points properly, in the short-time permitted on May 25.
Ezra Levant – To state the obvious, contempt of court is a rare and obscure area of law; a public defender who only just met Tommy that day had no background in it; and didn’t know Tommy or his history. He was technically “legal counsel”, but he wasn’t effective. It was as if Tommy were alone.
Ezra Levant – “He has spent sufficient time in custody”. I think the judges will accept this, even if they don’t accept the appeal on substantive conviction. Who could argue that two months in solitary is not enough? I predict the appeal will success at least on the sentencing matter.
Ezra Levant – Re: Canterbury: “because there was no compliance within the framework of the criminal procedure rules that the learned judges finding should be quashed”. So, they want last year’s conviction to throw out too for technical reasons.
Lord Chief Justice suggests that Canterbury was probably done properly, given the “legal talent” there, and the time for reflection. Dein makes the point nonetheless that Tommy was charged under the wrong section.
Ezra Levant – Remember, the Canterbury contempt yielded a 3-month suspended sentence. The Leeds contempt added another 10 months.
Ezra Levant – Dame Maura Patricia McGowan is one of the two other judges here. Her interventions have been more critical of Tommy. That doesn’t necessarily indicate her conclusions; they might just be questions to elicit more information from Mr. Dein. But I’d say she leans against Tommy.
Dein: the Leeds judge should never have had the 3-month suspended sentence from Canterbury in front of him, because it was procedurally inappropriate.
Dein concludes. Now some questions from the judges.
Sir Mark George Turner, one of the judges on the panel, asks Tommy’s lawyer Jeremy Dein, what he would concede Tommy did wrong in Leeds. The Chief Justice intervenes.
Dein’s answer: Tommy referred to the trial, the charges, and referred to Muslims and an eleven-year-old victim, and to the cost of the trials. Dein concedes that this would violate the court order. Ezra Levant – (I’m a sceptic.)
Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett questions whether discussing the costs of the rape gang trials would be contempt. (I sense that this judge leans towards Tommy — at least all of his interventions seem to.)
Lord Chief Justice: anyone complaining about the cost of a trial doesn’t seem to be in contempt of court.
Dein indicates that a transcript of the livestream was made available to the court. That’s probably book length — Tommy was talking for more than an hour.
Dein is taking the court through various documents that we do not have access to at this point.
Dein concludes his submissions.
Louis Mably, QC, is now on his feet on behalf of the Attorney General. Though he is styled as a friend of the court, I sense that he is really the “opposition” to Tommy’s team.
Mably: “To what extent is failure to follow procedure fatal”?
Mably: it’s inappropriate to suggest that any misstep procedurally should stop justice from being done. As in: he doesn’t think a technical appeal is sufficient; “it’s a question of substance not form”.
Mably: refers to the Canterbury contempt finding of 2017. Reminder: in that case, Tommy filmed a selfie video for literally 45 seconds on the court precincts. In my view, hardly worth a three-month sentence, suspended or not.
Lord Chief Justice asks Mably: “do you have any submissions on the importance of the need to identify any conduct… and put it to the alleged contemptor”
Mably: the person under the investigation cannot meet the allegation against him [if he doesn’t know the particulars]. So, it is a fundamental part of the procedure.” He says the devil’s in the details though.
Mably said the livestream was actually played in court in Leeds. The Lord Chief Justice immediately interjects — “not all of it!“
Ezra Levant – I’ve always asked: how can Tommy have been convicted of contempt for a 75-minute broadcast, if that broadcast was not even viewed by the judge?
Mably “The conduct had been identified in a general sense”. “I suppose in any report of proceedings there are likely to be parts that don’t of themselves offend a court order”.
Mably: “it is a fundamental part of any fair procedure that a person under investigation knows what he’s accused of.”
Lord Chief Justice quotes the Leeds judge: “I made an order prohibiting publication of anything relating to these trials…” The Chief suggests that is too broad and doesn’t comply with the law!
Ezra Levant – It’s 1 p.m. on the nose; Mably says he’s reached the end of his speaking notes. I predict they’ll break for lunch now
Lord Chief Justice asks Dein how much time he needs to reply to Mably.
Ezra Levant – I have to tell you, I’m impressed with the temperament and clear thinking and clear speaking of the Lord Chief Justice in his interventions. I think he was courteous and generous to the public, too. I believe this case will be taken seriously. I hope I’m not a fool for saying so.
Dein says he wants to make ten minutes of rebuttal, so that will happen at 2 p.m., after lunch. The court is adjourned until then. Tommy is taking a break, from his location too.
Ezra Levant – It’s 2 p.m. in London, so the court is about to reconvene in the matter of the appeal of Tommy Robinson.
Ezra Levant – Tommy Robinson is still trending on Twitter. But I think we should tweak that — will you help me to get #FreeTommy trending? I have a good feeling that it will actually come true today, by the way.
Jeremy Dein, Tommy’s barrister, is summarizing his reply to Louis Mably, the lawyer from the Attorney General.
Dean is making a technical argument, noting that criminal procedure rules are relevant, as opposed to an obsolete case mentioned by Mably.
Ezra Levant – Factoid: a person held in contempt of court is called a “contemnor”.
Dein: 1. No attempt by the court to identify the precise breach said to have been committed by Tommy. 2. Therefore, no submissions made by Tommy in reply. 3. No discussion advising Tommy about what breach he was on the brink of being imprisoned for 4. Upon sentenced, not being told what he did wrong. 5. Not admitting what he did wrong. 6. Failed out proper punishment. … 8. Insufficient opportunity for Tommy to reflect and take advice, esp. to mitigation. 9. Summary proceedings should have happened. 10. Tommy deprived of chances to mitigate 11. Bad sentencing, including that Tommy is held as a criminal, not a civil prisoner. Sorry I couldn’t keep up so quickly with Dein’s rapid-fire summary.
Dein: Tommy has served almost two months — being the equivalent of four months as a civil prisoner, since he’s improperly being held as a criminal. (My addition: and of course, he’s in solitary confinement!)
Ezra Levant – Dein’s point is: two months as a criminal prisoner (equivalent to four months as a civil prisoner) is more than enough punishment already. So, at the very least, he should be let go now.
Ezra Levant – The judges have briefly adjourned to confer amongst each other. Mr. Dein’s no. 2, Kerrie, tells me the 12-points Mr. Dein made.
Here they are:
- No attempt to identify the precise breachers.
- Therefore no submissions made as to those breaches by Tommy’s lawyer.
- Therefore no discussion in with his lawyer in relation to any specific breaches…
- Tommy was not told by the judge (in Leeds) what he had done wrong.
- He was not asked if he admitted it.
- The judge failed to set out his powers of punishment, as per the criminal procedure rules.
- The judge failed to set out his powers of detention under the same rules.
- Tommy was given insufficient time to reflect and take advice, as per the rules, and in particular regarding mitigation of any problems he cause.
- Summary procedure — i.e. a drum-head trial — should not have been used in this case.
- Tommy was deprived of full and comprehensive mitigation — as in a chance to make things right. 10. Sorry — mitigation here means things he could set out in his favour — as in, his character, his family, his intent. That’s what mitigation means.
- They passed an imbalanced sentence — obviously.
- In summary, Tommy’s lawyers disagree with Mr. Mably’s contention that the spirit of the law was complied with, if not the letter of it.
Ezra Levant – That was a private-re-statement of Mr. Dein’s points to me by his associate!
Ezra Levant – We are now waiting for the judges to return. I’m told that could be in five or ten minutes. They’re just conferring. I’m told that a likely outcome is that the judges will return tomorrow to render a formal verdict.
Ezra Levant – Obviously, this was a legally complex case, and there are three senior judges who must confer. And the court is acutely aware of the public policy implications — not just for Tommy Robinson and his supporters, but in terms of fixing contempt of court law for the future.
Ezra Levant – So it may be that the judges call us back tomorrow for their verdict. Or: they may issue it immediately. Or: they may reserve it for days. It’s up to them — and these are the top bosses.
Chief Justice says they have a complicated task for them, and they hope to complete it before the end of July.
Ezra Levant –That seems excessively slow to me — you’d think that they’d grant Tommy bail in the meantime, if they seek to be so painstaking.
Ezra Levant – Now, it’s true that “before the end of July”, that could be tomorrow. But it could also be nearly two more weeks of solitary confinement for Tommy.
The Lord Chief Justice complimented the public gallery for their good conduct. UK 2:34 PM – 18 Jul 2018