Supporters and critics of Tommy Robinson have descended into tit-for-tat spats over the merits of the former English Defence League leader winning his court challenge, securing his immediate release on bail.
It didn’t take long for pro and anti-Robinson social media users to clash over the judges’ decision. In London on Wednesday Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other judges quashed a finding of contempt made against Robinson over an incident in Leeds in May – ordering a new hearing over the allegation.
It’s been a case of contrasting emotions on Twitter – joy from Robinson’s loyal backers and sobering reflection from his critics.
YouTube political commentator Paul Joseph Watson, a self-proclaimed classical liberal, who has been accused of being a key protagonist of the alt-right, has reignited his long-running feud with anti-fascist activist and writer, Mike Stuchbery.
Watson tweeted Stuchbery, taunting him over the ruling.
Stuchbery didn’t take Watson’s bait, claiming he was happy that the “hero” of the far-right and advocates of a specific selection of “free speech” would now have his case properly assessed so there would be “no cloud over the conviction.”
No Paul, not mad. Actually, I’m pretty pleased that the Leeds charge will be re-examined in court. That means if he does go back to prison, there’ll be no cloud over the conviction. Due process and all.
Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to call you a lying, racist arse. https://t.co/MAusmANzKt
— Mike Stuchbery 💀🍷 (@MikeStuchbery_) August 1, 2018
Peter Jukes, journalist at Byline, locked horns with Alan Mendoza, of the neo-conservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society. Jukes showed displeasure at Mendoza commenting on Robinson’s case, asking “what has he got to do with their remit?”
Henry Jackson Society now going full Alt Right, focusing on #TommyRobinson (what has he got to do with their remit?) after the director enjoyed last year’s Renaissance weekend with Katy Hopkins and Sebastian Gorka https://t.co/EwUcp9kvFj
— Peter Jukes (@peterjukes) August 1, 2018
Mendoza fired back that Jukes was “ideologically bitter” due to his intolerance of those airing views about the “failure of legal process” in the Robinson case.
When did you become so ideologically bitter Peter that you can’t acknowledge, as our court system has done, that a high profile case has had a failure of legal process. It doesn’t mean Robinson is not guilty! But that he should face a fair trial. Shameful behaviour from you https://t.co/Rk45Yp3hEl
— Alan Mendoza (@alanmendoza) August 1, 2018
Katie Hopkins, the controversial far-right media personality, and ally of Robinson on social media, has never been one to shy away from sharing her views on contentious topics. She reacted with a demand that the original judge apologise.
Hopkins tweeted: “Looking forward to an apology from the Leeds Judge – Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC #FreeTommy.”
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom couldn’t contain his happiness at the court of appeal’s ruling, which he sees as freedom for Robinson.
In turn, Robinson critics reminded Twitter that he was not in fact ‘free,’ still facing a hearing for the original charge and reminding their followers of Robinson’s criminal history.
BREAKING: ‘Tommy Robinson’ is a convicted criminal. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – his actual name – remains a far-right extremist and a violent thug. Lennon’s appeal over his original Canterbury conviction for contempt was thrown out. His Leeds conviction will be reheard.
— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) August 1, 2018
Tommy Robinson supporters, May 2018:
“The law is corrupt and being used by the establishment for their own ends!”
“Isn’t the law great!” pic.twitter.com/ka2RRQy3SP
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) August 1, 2018
Convicted fraudster Tommy Robinson is out of jail, and the far right have their Oswald Mosley figure. The far right are on the rise, the mainstream media are going to keep legitimising them and making them respectable – so it’s up to the rest of us to fight back.
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) August 1, 2018
The Guardian’s media editor, Jim Waterson, has highlighted the fact Wednesday’s court ruling is “fairly critical” about how Robinson’s case which originally handled – far too rushed when it needn’t have been.
Tommy Robinson ruling is fairly critical of how the Leeds judge handled the contempt case and the decision to send him to prison on the same day as the alleged comtempt. (From the press summary.) pic.twitter.com/M4jl1QRPaF
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) August 1, 2018
Robinson is not yet an entirely free man as he has been released on bail – with conditions attached. The Guardian reports that Robinson has been ordered to attend a retrial in London and to remain at least 400 meters away from Leeds crown court while on bail.
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