Official government repression aimed at the English Defence League is far from over, but recent events have been breaking in the EDL’s direction. I mentioned a couple of days ago that the assault charge against EDL leader Tommy Robinson — which had been filed after his takedown of the jihad flag on Remembrance Day — was dropped.
Although it’s true that the Crown intends a new charge against Mr. Robinson on a Section Four public order offense, another member of the EDL has just had similar charges against him thrown out of court. The charges against Ronald Peterson were based on his carrying the flag of St. George and shouting out “EDL”. Judge Andrew Vickers threw out the case, saying that Mr. Peterson had a right to free speech — which puts the judge at odds with Her Majesty’s government and most of the rest of the British judiciary.
According to the BBC:
Reading mosque St George’s flag protest case dismissed
A man who waved a St George’s flag outside an unbuilt mosque and shouted “EDL” and “England” has had the case against him thrown out.
Ronald Peterson said he was protesting about planning issues over the construction of the mosque in Oxford Road, Reading, on 30 May 2010.
District judge Andrew Vickers dismissed two public order charges. He said Mr Peterson had a right to free speech.
Mr Peterson, 37, from Tilehurst, said he was “over the moon”.
The judge said the words were not threatening, abusive or insulting.
Mr Peterson said he was trying to highlight concerns about how planning permission was granted to the mosque, the length of time it was taking to construct and worries over how it was being funded.
The public order offense with which Mr. Peterson had been charged is described as “religiously aggravated”, which means it was probably from drawn from Section 4A, the same law under which Guramit Singh has been charged. See last night’s post for details on the wording of the law.
Speaking outside court, he said of the prosecution: “It shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place.
“It was a lawful protest that I was doing, with a genuine concern.
“I made all my views at the time clear to the police when they turned up and all I had was my St George’s flag and chanting ‘England’ and ‘EDL’.”
Police were called to the scene by two Muslim men, the court heard.
They told officers they were concerned by the protest as prayers were about to start at a nearby mosque and they believed an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration was about to take place.
Mr Peterson, of Elvaston Way, was charged with two public offences, including a “religiously aggravated” offence.
In a statement, Nina Maisuria from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “When we looked at the evidence provided by the police, we were satisfied there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”
This is a very hopeful sign for the EDL. If the prosecutors continue to run into this much trouble when they attempt to frame people using the “religiously aggravated” clause, it will derail their efforts to silence and suppress the EDL.
The Black Flag of Jihad and the Flag of St. George — the national flag of England — are much more than religious symbols: they are the battle standards of sworn enemies, and have been for nearly a thousand years.
This fact should be entered into the trial record whenever one of these kangaroo cases appears in court. That will get the information into the newspapers, and even the BBC will have to report it.