I’m watching a journalist report on the Muslim rape gangs from outside Leeds Crown Court. His name is not Tommy Robinson. He is not right-wing or white working class. He is dressed in religious garb. His saffron turban holds his long hair in place. His beard reaches down to his waist. I’m trying to spot if he has his ritual dagger, the kirpan, concealed under his flowing kurta.
Our journalist is not reporting for the mainstream media. His cameraman has chosen his backdrop carefully and at all times you can see uniformed officers from West Yorkshire Police in the background. This is not a sting operation with concealed filming and recording devices.
The reporter is talking into a large hand-held microphone – the kind used by TV reporters. Some of the time he is not even speaking English. I perk up my ears when I catch occasional phrases in colloquial Punjabi – the kind my Sikh friends would bandy around when we were diving into yummy Punjabi food.
Mohan Singh is a Sikh. He is reporting for the Sikh Awareness Society (SAS) and his videos are uploaded on YouTube. The SAS does not exist to educate Britons about Sikhism, or Guru Nanak, or the Guru Granth Sahib. It ‘aims to protect and educate’ young Sikhs about sexual grooming in Britain.
Mohan Singh and Tommy Robinson are standing in front of the same courthouse. Both are reporting on Muslim rape gangs. Singh says it is the ‘preliminary hearing’ trying ‘27 child abusers’ (not ‘alleged child abusers’). These men ‘took advantage’ of children ‘as young as eleven, in our eyes they’re babies’, he reports.
Robinson emphatically uses the word ‘alleged’ several times, in his report. Like Singh, he reveals that some of the victims are as ‘young as eleven’. Like Singh, he reads the charges the accused are facing. These include false imprisonment, taking indecent images of children, extreme pornographic material, and so on.
‘These people have done things that, you know, you and me might never be able to imagine,’ reports Singh. He repeats this more intensely in Punjabi. Singh never uses the word ‘alleged’. Like Robinson, he lists the names of the ‘defendants’ and says they are from Huddersfield. Singh reveals the age range of victims and defendants and calls the latter ‘filthy child abusers’. ‘I cannot understand why their community is not speaking up about he,’ he adds, accusing Muslims of ‘aiding and abetting’ the crime by remaining silent.
Singh’s video then shows the accused walking to the court. They are trying to cover their faces and are accosted by a group of protesters shouting ‘scum’. The police are shielding the accused from the protesters. Singh’s video is filming each of the defendants as they approach the courthouse and as protesters hurl abuse. In one scene, Singh is filmed right next to a policeman who is explaining to two women protesters that the police are here to ‘to facilitate all protests’.
Note the striking similarities between the two reporters filming outside Leeds Crown Court, even though there is a year’s gap between the two incidents.
The only discernible difference is that Robinson was arrested when reporting on, in his words, ‘Muslim paedophiles’ outside Canterbury Crown Court on 8 May 2017. ‘In Britain, any filming and recording of courts and court precincts is illegal under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 and the Contempt of Court Act,’ points out the leftwing Independent newspaper.
I spoke to a representative of the SAS and he clarified that Singh’s video was filmed and released online before the court imposed reporting restrictions. But Singh’s video was published on 17 May 2017 and filmed that day or the day before according to the spokesman while Robinson had already been arrested around 10 days before Singh’s filming. So why did the court not impose reporting restrictions before any trial at any court trying the grooming gangs?
So why in the name of the law do the police not arrest Singh? Why are reporting restrictions not imposed on Singh? Why has Singh’s video not been taken down from the Internet? Why do the same laws on contempt not bind the SAS? Why is the mainstream media ignoring what is a huge story – the Sikh community standing against Muslim groomers because Sikh girls have also been targets for three decades? In fact, the SAS was set up in 1998 solely to fight the rape culture largely perpetrated by Muslim Pakistani men.
The media has failed to ask the most significant question: why is it just for the courts to black out reporting on the most heinous criminal activity of the last thirty years that has been perpetrated against some of the most vulnerable sections of British society? Because it will prejudice the outcome of the trial?
How come this sacred principle doesn’t apply to every criminal trial? Why have other civilised nations not thought it fit to impose similar draconian restrictions? Why do the courts perpetuate an obsolete law in the age of the Internet when such information could very well be released on a website in the US or India?
It was Chief Justice Gordon Hewart, who in a landmark judgement in the English courts said that ‘it is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’.
The guidelines on Reporting restrictions in the criminal courts expounds this principle: ‘The open justice principle is central to the rule of law. Open justice helps to ensure that trials are properly conducted. It puts pressure on witnesses to tell the truth. It can result in new witnesses coming forward. It provides public scrutiny of the trial process, maintains the public’s confidence in the administration of justice and makes inaccurate and uninformed comment about proceedings less likely. Open court proceedings and the publicity given to criminal trials are vital to the deterrent purpose behind criminal justice. Any departure from the open justice principle must be necessary in order to be justified.’
The guidelines stress that this principle applies to ‘contemporaneous media reports of legal proceedings’ and may be applied only in ‘exceptional’ cases ‘based on necessity’. It makes clear that the ‘burden is on the party seeking the restriction to establish it is necessary on the basis of clear and cogent evidence’ and that the ‘terms of any order must be proportionate – going no further than is necessary to meet the relevant objective’. Have the above principles have been followed or flouted in the case of Tommy Robinson’s trial and condemnation?
‘Justice is not simply a matter of whether or not you committed a crime. It’s also a matter of whether the penalty fits the crime and whether other people who did the same thing got the same penalty,’ writes Indian-American filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. The Obama administration threw D’Souza in prison for contributing $20,000 to a friend running for Senate. D’Souza fell foul of the Democratic establishment in the run-up to President Obama’s re-election bid when D’Souza released his anti-Obama film 2016: Obama’s America.
Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, a liberal, called it an ‘outrageous prosecution’ and said, ‘It raises the question of why he is being selected for prosecution among the many, many people who commit similar crimes.’ Obama himself had violated campaign finance laws on three different occasions. Last month, President Donald Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza.
The establishment can throw a white working class Briton behind bars because it considers him ‘white trash’. The same establishment won’t dare to reprimand a brown-skinned Sikh for doing precisely what Tommy Robinson did. A student whose father was in the British Army told me how officers were instructed to turn a blind eye to Fijian soldiers who beat their wives because it was ‘part of their culture’. The law on domestic abuse didn’t apply to them!
The establishment turned a blind eye to the industrial scale rape committed by Pakistani Muslim men because it wanted to be culturally sensitive and didn’t want to be labelled racist. But Tommy Robinson and his supporters are fair game – because they are white and working class.
‘If the law supposes that, the law is an ass – an idiot,’ quips Mr Bumble in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Tommy Robinson is in prison not because he committed a crime. Tommy Robinson is in prison because the law is an ass. Worse. In his case, the law is a racist ass. For this tale of two reporters – one white and one brown, Tommy Robinson and Mohan Singh models the reverse racism of the judicial and political establishment.