The leader of Pegida UK, Tommy Robinson, appeared in court today, successfully arguing against the imposition of a ‘Football Banning Order’ by Bedfordshire Police.
The police had sought to argue that an English flag held up by PEGIDA UK leader Robinson with the words “Fuck ISIS” printed on it amounted to incitement of hatred against Muslims.
Attending Luton Magistrates Court today with her client, Mr. Robinson’s lawyer Alison Gurden argued that attempts to impose the order amounted to an attempt to breach his right to freedom of speech and assembly.
According to Mr. Robinson, the judge agreed, dismissing the police’s case against him as vague, cagey, and not genuine.
Judge “evidence is vague & cagey & not genuine” case dismissed
— Tommy Robinson (@TRobinsonNewEra) September 19, 2016
Bedfordshire Police tried to serve him with the order in June of this year to ban him from attending the Euro 2016 football tournament, only to find that he had arrived in France days earlier. Upon his return to Britain, he was immediately served with the order and his passport was confiscated, preventing him returning to France to watch further matches.
During his time in France, he was pictured holding an English flag with the words “Fuck ISIS” emblazoned upon it. The incident appears to have prompted the police to argue in their application for the banning order that Mr. Robinson posed “a significant risk of both violence and disorder… This is especially so in terms of his established capacity to organise disorder from an anti-Muslim perspective”.
The ban would have prevented him from walking in Muslim areas of Luton, his hometown, for the next three to five years. But Mr. Robinson opted to contest the application, resulting in his successful court appearance today.
Earlier this month, Ms. Gurden argued in a blog that the case was merely a front for the Home Office to restrict Mr. Robinson’s movements in an attempt to thwart his legal political activities.
“This Football Banning Order application aims to prevent Tommy Robinson from entering the town of Luton for 12 hours on a Saturday when Luton Town FC are playing a home match, and from attending events overseas where England is represented,” she wrote.
“Without a Football Banning Order, the Home Office would struggle to find a legal mechanism to restrict Mr Robinson’s movements, as his political protests are not unlawful. While some may not agree with his views, Mr Robinson has just as much right to lawful protest as any other individual or group.
“Hence it is a logical conclusion that this application is made as an abuse of the Bedfordshire Police power as it is actually an attempt by the Home Office to restrict Mr Robinson’s movement and expression of his political beliefs.”