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Will Chamberlain @willchamberlain
, 21 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
The judge in Tommy Robinson's case, Denise Marson, pulled a neat trick today.

She threw him in jail for 13 months, and banned anyone in the UK from talking about it.

A thread on how she did it. (h/t @nickmon1112)

#FreeTommy #FreeTommyRobinson
A year ago, Tommy was convicted of Contempt of Court for filming 4 defendants who were alleged to have gang-raped a young woman. His sentence was suspended.…
Tommy argued that he didn't intend to derail the trial.

Under UK law, that doesn't matter - there is *strict liability* for *criminal* contempt charges.
We don't have a ton of detail on the court proceedings today, but it sounds like a similar set of facts to a year ago - Tommy was livestreaming outside the courthouse, arrested, his suspended sentence was revoked and some additional time was tacked on.…
The really interesting question - how on earth the judge could BAN REPORTING on the trial - shows yet again how insane UK law is.

Judge Marson's order cites section 4(2) of the 1981 Contempt of Court act justifying the reporting ban.
This provision allows the court to ban TRUE and ACCURATE reporting about a criminal case. Once the judge issues this order, publishing TRUE and ACCURATE accounts of the case is a CRIME.

(Excerpt from here:…)
Nominally, this flowchart describes the process which courts are supposed to use before implementing reporting restrictions. From my reading, the argument FOR reporting restrictions is that they help make the trial stay fair and prevent jury contamination.

(Same source as above)
This rationale wouldn't fly in the United States - as @Timcast put it, thank God for the First Amendment. (Also due thanks - the Supreme Court in New York Times v. United States)…
And we should be thankful. Courts, and the Crown, are abusing reporting restrictions like crazy. In one case, the Court banned truthful reporting on a terrorism trial *after the trial was over*.
Similarly, it looks like Judge Marson is abusing her authority here.

Let's go back to the order. It put reporting restrictions on *Tommy's* case. Not the case he was covering. The restriction ends when the case he was *covering* ends - but the restriction is NOT on that case.
Read that Orwellian language. Reporting on Tommy's imprisonment is "necessary to avoid a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in *these* proceedings."

That makes no sense! There's no jury trial for contempt of court! He's already been sentenced!
This is an incredible abuse of reporting restrictions, which already are a noxious instrument in the hands of the UK government.

Judge Marson convicted Tommy of Contempt of Court, and banned anyone from reporting on - or criticizing - her actions.

Abuse. Of. Power.
The UK Government has arrogated to itself enormous, discretionary power - just like with the Terrorism Act. And as @Lauren_Southern, @Martin_Sellner, and @BrittPettibone can attest, the UK government now abuses that power to silence people it doesn't like.…
In short:

The UK is a police state.

The UK government can throw people in jail, and ban anyone from talking about why they did so.

Appalling and contemptible.

#FreeTommy #FreeTommyRobinson
I'll be periscoping on this in 30 or so.
ADDENDUM: I got the name of the judge wrong. It's Geoffrey Marson, not Denise Marson.


ADDENDUM 2: It was inaccurate to say that strict liability is the standard for ALL criminal contempt proceedings in the UK. The strict liability rule applies to publishers, and there's an exception for true and accurate reporting.
This @nyulawreview article from 2000 provides a good overview of the differences between British and American attitudes to press freedom when it comes to covering criminal cases.…
ADDENDUM 3: The key case that prevents this sort of prior restraint from being legal in the United States is Nebraska Press Ass'n v. Stuart, not the New York Times case.…
I explore reporting requirements further in this thread:

Also - @lizziedearden does a better job than I did here of explaining contempt law and reporting restrictions in the UK:

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