Harassment case involving Tommy Robinson dropped after far-right activist 'lied' to police

Harassment case involving Tommy Robinson dropped after far-right activist 'lied' to police
A harassment case involving Tommy Robinson has been dropped after inconsistencies emerged in evidence given by the far-right leader.
3 min read
25 February, 2021
Mrs Justic Whipple said evidence post-charge showed Robinson 'lied' to police [AFP]

British prosecutors have dismissed a harassment case involving former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, after it emerged the far-right activist "lied" to police.

Mrs Justice Whipple formally cleared 24-year-old Muhammad Abdul Basir, who was charged with racially aggravated harassment, after posting videos on YouTube threatening the far-right leader in September 2019.

Basir, who suffered from mental health issues in the past and had been sectioned, was due to stand trial in the Old Bailey next month.

In one clip, he is heard saying "I'm a contract killer. I have got guns. How much will you offer me to kill Tommy Robinson?".

The case was dropped on Tuesday after inconsistencies surfaced surrounding the evidence supplied by Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon. Justice Whipple said new evidence suggested that Robinson "lied" to police.

Robinson told police that fears about his safety prompted him to take his children out of school for 48 hours. Inquiries revealed this was not true, the court heard.

Prosecutor Peter Clement invoked Robinson's account that the videos were uploaded at a time when he had "received numerous warnings from the authorities as to threats to life and/or threats of serious violence to himself."

Police inquiries revealed that there had been "no such warning over the relevant period".

Read also: UK far-right Tommy Robinson loses 'Syrian teenager' legal battle

Clement added that Robinson met Basir in January 2018, after tracking down his home address in response to previous "threatening and abusive" the defendant had uploaded.

In his own witness statement, the ex-EDL leader said his encounter "enforced his fears" regarding Basir.

The court heard that the encounter was filmed and made into a quasi-documentary, which ended with the two patting each other on the back and engaging in a "friendly arm wrestle".

"The contents of the video could be said to be at odds with what the complainant described," Clement said.

In the documentary, Robinson is seen saying "'I know you are no threat to me or my family' and to which the defendant replied 'I will protect you'," Clement added.

Samantha Wright, the lawyer for Basir, argued that Robinson had "lied" in his evidence and "cannot be trusted".

"He says he took his children out of school. He did not. He said he received warning from the police where someone made threats to his life. He had not," she said.

"He also lied about how he fared in the confrontation in 2018."

Robinson founded the EDL in 2009, which he claimed was started to protest "radical Islamism" but whose actions have been blamed for escalating hate crimes against Muslims in the UK.

In 2013, Robinson left the EDL claiming his decision was motivated by the "dangers of far-right extremism", but since then he has been involved in other controversial activism.

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