The Guardian published a shocking article on Tuesday. By only reporting one side of the story, it could be assumed the author was arguing in favour of Alex Belfield being given a longer jail term than his five-and-a-half-year sentence. This bias is typical of corporate media’s coverage of Belfield’s case.
The case brought against Alex Belfield was by two state organisations: BBC and Nottinghamshire Police. “It is a step too far by the state,” a petition to overturn Belfield’s conviction states. “This case fails CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] criteria by a mile as well as both BBC and police codes of conduct. It was a to transgress human rights. We the people are betrayed by this case.”
You can read and sign the petition to overturn Belfield’s conviction HERE.
The law is not always just. For example, lawfare is when the law is misused and abused to fight political or commercial opponents. We don’t know all the details surrounding Alex Belfield’s case as his struggle with his accusers started three years ago however, apart from the shocking development that someone has been given a custodial sentence for online trolling, we should at least question whether lawfare played a part in his conviction.
“There are two types of laws: just and unjust. An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” – Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr.
On 16 September, popular YouTuber and journalist Alex Belfield, formerly of BBC Radio Leeds, was sentenced to five and half years in prison for four counts of online stalking. “My initial reaction without knowing the full facts of the case, but knowing that it concerned internet-based harassment, was one of shock, at the length of the sentence,” wrote barrister Joseph Chiffers. That the sentences were consecutive and not concurrent also surprised Chiffers.
Stalking, generally, means following someone. It doesn’t mean only physically, it also includes online activity, emails and phone calls – “watching, spying or forcing contact with the victim through any means, including through social media.”
In sentencing Belfield, the judge remarked:
The stalking you committed was not the conventional type which is popularised in the press. You did not meet or physically approach or watch any of your victims as a traditional stalker might have done … Your stalking consisted of use of repeated email communications, social media content on Twitter, and creation and publication of YouTube videos on your channel The Voice of Reason in which you commented in highly negative and often abusive terms about the complainants.
The effect of these communications was to encourage the readers and viewers to form highly negative views of the complainants, often based on wholly false allegations by you. Those readers and viewers then joined the abuse of the complainants in a way which is sadly now a familiar feature of social media interaction.
I accept that in certain limited respects you were acting as a form of media commentator in stating views on matters of public interest when you made some of your communications. However, even accepting the latitude our laws give to those exercising free speech rights, on the jury’s verdicts you exceeded the generous margins.
I am not imposing sentences on you because you made comments about the BBC or about matters of public interest.
The Black Belt Barrister explained in a video HERE how the judge reached Belfield’s sentence. On 19 October, Leeds Live reported that the court of appeal had confirmed it had received an application from Belfield appealing for a lower jail term. The Black Belt Barrister explains in the video below.
London’s commissioner for victims, Claire Waxman, asked for Belfield’s case to be reviewed under the unduly lenient scheme (“ULS”) requesting that Belfield’s sentence be increased. Fortunately, it was too late to make a ULS referral because the statutory time limit for referral to the court of appeal had passed. However, this has prompted Waxman to call for a reform in the law to give victims more time to appeal under the ULS, The Guardian reported.
Waxman was not a victim of Belfield’s online trolling. But, according to The Guardian, under the current law, anyone can appeal to the attorney general, the government’s main legal adviser, if they think someone has received too low a sentence.
One of Belfield’s accusers was BBC’s Jeremy Vine. Belfield did not contact Vine directly but rather made videos about him and encouraged his listeners to call into Vine’s show. “Until trial you had not met Mr Vine. Your actions against Mr Vine consisted of highly abusive and wholly false allegations given mass Twitter and video exposure,” the judge said.
Vine gave evidence during the trial and told jurors: “This is not a regular troll here. This is the Jimmy Savile of trolling.” Comparing Belfield’s indirect online trolling to Jimmy Savile is nothing short of bizarre. Savile, a known paedophile, was guilty of sexually abusing hundreds of people, as many as 589, throughout his life. Saville worked for the BBC. He found his victims through his work at the BBC and his charitable work for the National Health Service.
Belfield publicly accused Vine of stealing £1,000 of BBC’s licence payers’ funds to use for a “piss up” or party following the memorial service of one of Vine’s friends. The judge said the BBC gave money towards the memorial service but this had nothing to do with Vine. Due to the Twitter and video exposure that Belfield’s accusations attained, Vine said he felt he and his family were “at risk” from Belfield and his followers. “Although you at no stage committed any physical acts, Mr Vine considered himself and his family to be at risk from you and your followers,” the judge said.
For the online trolling of Vine, Belfield was convicted of a lesser “basic stalking” and was given 13 weeks in prison.
The other three complainants for which Belfield received a custodial sentence were:
- Bernard Spedding – known professionally as Bernie Keith – BBC Radio Northampton. Belfield was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in jail.
- Ben Hewis, a theatre critic and blogger. Belfield was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in jail.
- Philip Dehaney, a theatre critic and blogger. Belfield was sentenced to 13 weeks in jail.
The cases of Bernard Spedding, Ben Hewis and Philip Dehaney are related as seen in THIS account by Belfield published on 13 March 2020 (see video below).
According to Belfield, in October 2019 Hewis released a screenshot of an email on Twitter written by an anonymous person claiming Belfield had harassed BBC colleagues for 15 years. When Hewis posted the email, he encouraged his “pals in theatre,” 15,000 Twitter followers, to delete their tweets and block Belfield. It seems the following day, Hewis retracted his Tweet.
But, in Belfield’s opinion, the damage had already been done as his reputation was destroyed in the eyes of his peers who blocked him on Hewis’ recommendation.
Belfield requested Hewis to give him a copy of the email that contained “seven blatant (easily disprovable) malicious lies” but he refused and the BBC refused to reveal which BBC staff member authored the email. Belfield believed the author of the email was Spedding (also known as Bernie Keith).
A police inquiry was opened in February 2020. After more than 100 emails between Belfield, the BBC and their lawyers from RPC, BBC refused to inform Belfield who had authored the email. And, Hewis refused to engage with the police or give them a copy of the email. In March 2020, Spedding confirmed he was mentally ill and receiving therapy.
One of the lawyers for the BBC was Nicola Cain at RPC. Cain left RPC in August 2020, after she was accused of concealing information and falsifying a court document to fool her client, Christopher Steele, the ex-MI6 agent who compiled the infamous “Trump dossier.” In February 2022, she was struck off for forging a judge’s signature.
Is Alex Belfield a victim of lawfare?
Corporate Lawfare and Stalking
According to the Institute of Lawfare, lawfare is the misuse and abuse of the law for political, commercial and military ends. It is a powerful weapon for fighting political or commercial enemies, combining apparently legal actions and widespread media coverage.
By way of an example, it is worth reading the Institute of Lawfare’s concerns about Lebanon. In June 2021, the Institute of Lawfare identified Lebanon as being a country of concern in the growing use of the misuse of law for political and commercial purposes, particularly in the area of business lawfare where Lebanese banks were identified as an area of significant concern. Read more HERE.
On 20 January 2922, Member of Parliament (“MP”) David Davis led a debate in the House of Commons called ‘Lawfare and the UK Court System’ during which MPs urged the government to better protect the media and citizens from abusive legal action known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP.
Lawyers and campaigners describe SLAPP as a form of legal harassment that exploits lengthy and expensive legal procedures to silence journalists, critics and watchdogs, The Guardian wrote.
David Davis [ ] accused those with nefarious intentions of using the UK justice system “to threaten, intimidate and put the fear of God into British journalists, citizens, officials and media organisations, “and added “This is lawfare – lawfare against British freedom of speech, lawfare against the freedom of the press, and lawfare against justice for our citizens. Lawfare is the misuse of legal systems and principles by extraordinarily rich individuals and organisations to destroy their critics and opponents.”
Lawfare: a new word to use against solicitors, The Law Society, 26 January 2022
You may be forgiven for thinking Davis was referring to nefarious intentions of those within the UK against UK citizens, as in Belfield’s case, for example. But he was referring to wealthy clients and oligarchs from autocratic countries interfering in the UK justice system. Much of the debate was centred around the way the Russian state uses UK courts and lawyers to achieve its aims.
Considering Belfield versus the BBC, it may be time for MPs to have another debate on this topic, but this time centre it around lawfare used by British wealthy clients, oligarchs and organisations. They could start by debating whether BBC has used lawfare against Belfield.
While they’re at it, MPs should also debate whether Globalist oligarchs and organisations are stalking UK citizens.
According to Wikipedia, the act of stalking includes monitoring a person’s use of the internet and email.
In May 2012, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 created the offence of stalking for the first time in England and Wales, by inserting these offences into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. The act of stalking under this section is exemplified by contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means, publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, monitoring the use by a person of the Internet, email, or any other form of electronic communication, loitering in any place (whether public or private), interfering with any property in the possession of a person, or watching or spying on a person. [emphasis our own]
Stalking (United Kingdom), Wikipedia
The Bill Gates and George Soros-funded Institute for Strategic Dialogue, for example, has been monitoring people online. In June 2022 it produced a 115-page report which gives specific details of those it has been monitoring online. Is that not stalking?
As for Google, according to Robert Epstein, it is a surveillance agency. “The search engine … Google Wallet, Google Docs, Google Drive, YouTube, these are surveillance platforms. In other words, from their perspective, the value these tools have is they give them more information about you. Surveillance is what they do,” he said. Is that not stalking?
How is it that Belfield is given a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence for trolling four people online while organisations that are stalking tens of millions of us daily are not being stopped or brought to account? On the contrary, they are being encouraged to do so. Maybe it is because it is our government that is stalking us. And maybe before long, as may have already happened to Belfield, our government will declare lawfare against us.