Forgive me for my absence these past three days. I was in the UK at Tommy Robinson's request, to cover Tommy Robinson's latest court case.
In this instance, Tommy was on the offensive, suing the Cambridgeshire Constabulary for harassing him and his family in the summer of 2016.
Some background: Tommy Robinson is a big football fan — that’s what they call soccer over there — and he goes to the matches, both in his native Luton and when the team travels.
Tommy had travelled up to Cambridge, to watch Luton play Cambridge. Tommy went with a friend, and they each brought their kids. Tommy has three young kids. They went to some kids festival in the city; then they went to the stadium to watch the match; then they went to a pub.
These pubs aren't really like our Canadian or American bars or nightclub, that are adults-only. Here, pubs are full of families, eating, socializing with other families, watching a match on TV.
(By the way, I happen to know that Tommy doesn’t touch a drop of alcohol around his family, and the same was true that day.)
That day, the police came into the pub and told Tommy: Leave now, or you’ll get arrested.
Tommy asked why; they didn’t answer; he asked again; they responded that if he kept asking, they’d arrest him by serving him with a “section 35 dispersal notice’. That’s a fancy way of saying: being arrested for “anti-social behaviour”. That’s a thing in the UK.
The landlady of the pub, who didn’t know Tommy, told the cop: This guy’s fine. He’s just been sitting here peacefully with his children. Like so much of this incident, this was captured on video.
The cop didn’t listen to her.
Tommy grudgingly complied with the police. But when he and his kids left the pub, the police now said:
Go to the train station and get out the city right now.
The police followed him to the station. In fact, one of them took out a video camera, and ostentatiously started recording him and his children. How creepy is that?
Funny thing, though: That same constable testified that, depending on the situation, he was obligated to keep such videos for 28 days, or even up to 100 years. But he felt this particular video was of no relevance, so he just deleted it.
I haven’t practiced law in a while, but if you delete evidence (in Canada at least) the court takes an "adverse inference" from it — they assume the worst about what you refuse to show them.
But that didn’t happen here. As I'll tell you tonight, a lot of things did (and didn't) happen during this trial that left me feeling depressed, and angry.
So has the verdict:
Today, the judge ruled against Tommy.
Not only did she throw out his lawsuit, but Tommy has to pay the lawyer for the police; and he has to pay the police themselves.
I’ve never heard of that before. They were being paid to attend the trial; they incurred no costs. But Tommy told me he doesn’t just have to pay for their lawyers, but for them:
A total of £38,000 pounds which is over CDN$60,000.
It's sad that the UK has allowed itself to be governed by laws that allow police to simply arrest anyone for anything at any time — for what future crimes they might “possibly” commit. Of course that’s going to be abused by bully cops.
But even sadder was the general political-media culture: that to the establishment — to lawyers, politicians, the media, the courts, everyone — having unrestricted police powers is just fine.
Except that it isn’t...
NEXT: I'll show you the interview I had with Tommy Robinson today on my live show Battleground. I called him right after the judge's verdict was announced, and you won't want to miss this.