A 28 year old man has today been given a 12 week suspended prison sentence after he was convicted of common assault following an English Defence League rally in Blackburn.
Stephen Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, of Layham Drive, Luton was found guilty following a one day trial at Preston Magistrates Court on Thursday 29th September. He was sentenced at Preston Magistrates Court today (Thursday, November 3rd) where in addition to the prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, he was given an 150 hour community order and told to pay £200 costs.
Lennon was charged with assault in June after an altercation with a member of the crowd at the EDL demonstration in Blackburn town centre in April.
Superintendent Jon Puttock, from Blackburn Police, said: “I am satisfied with today’s sentence. At the time of the demonstration we said we would facilitate any protest which was peaceful and deal firmly with those committing crime and disorder and this conviction and sentence today demonstrates that.”
Others of us will be far from satisfied with the penalty imposed on Lennon. With his record – he had previously served 12 months for assault on an off-duty police officer in 2005 – a custodial sentence would have been more appropriate. At the very least Lennon should have got a CRASBO to prevent him attending any further EDL rallies, which is what the police applied for. The EDL themselves are evidently not unhappy with the result:
Update: See also “EDL leader Lennon Asbo bid rejected”, Press Association, 3 November 2011
Regarding the application for a CRASBO, Lennon is reported as saying: “This was an attempt to silence me and take away my democratic rights. I respect the judge for this decision. If the Asbo had been imposed, it would have meant me going to jail. I would have broken it and broken it.”
Update 2: See comments by Casuals United (“A good day for justice as stitch up after stitch up falls to the wayside”) and the EDL (“The not so great state-sponsored stitch-up”). The latter piece contains details of the charge of which EDL co-leader Kevin Carroll was acquitted: “Six officers had claimed that Kev had picked up a metal barrier in order to hurl it at police.”