RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: How can a judge who ‘liked’ an anti-Israel post decide the fate of three women who supported Hamas terrorists?

What was I saying this time last week about the courts going soft on woke demonstrators supporting everything from Just Stop Oil to Hamas, even when the police can be bothered to enforce the law?

Look no further than Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram, who decided ‘not to punish’ three women brandishing paraglider images on an anti-Israel march in the wake of the October 7 pogroms.

They were accused of glorifying terrorism, after being exposed by the Mail on Sunday. The police tracked them down and the Crown Prosecution Service brought charges under the Terrorism Act.

But although they were convicted, and could have been sentenced to six months in jail and an unlimited fine, Judge Ikram let them off with a conditional discharge because ‘emotions ran very high at the time’.

The moment protestors with paragliders stuck to their backs in reference to the Hamas atrocities chant 'England is a terrorist state' on the streets of London

The moment protestors with paragliders stuck to their backs in reference to the Hamas atrocities chant ‘England is a terrorist state’ on the streets of London 

Judge Tan Ikram, who heard the case at Westminster Magistrates Court

Judge Tan Ikram, who heard the case at Westminster Magistrates Court

He concluded that they had not ‘shown any support for Hamas’ – despite the fact that the murderers and rapists of Hamas had crossed into Israel on paragliders and filmed themselves doing it – video seen around the world.

Lawyers for the three women claimed preposterously that the images were ‘symbols of peace’.

Even though the law states clearly that a guilty verdict merely requires that any ‘reasonable person’ would consider that the images amounted to support for a terrorist organisation, Judge Ikram decided to show extreme leniency, even though he said they had ‘crossed the line’.

It has since been revealed that Judge Ikram recently ‘liked’ a social media post by a Left-wing barrister who specialises in conspiracy theories about Israel.

The post, by Sham Uddin, who is standing as an independent MP in East London, read: ‘Free Free Palestine. To the Israeli terrorist both in the United Kingdom, the United States, and of course Israel you can run, you can bomb but you cannot hide – justice will be coming for you.’

Ikram now says that he ‘didn’t know’ he had liked the post and it was a ‘genuine mistake’. Sorry, but this streches credibility to the limit.

He’s a senior judge, for heaven’s sake, someone who is supposed to have a heightened grasp of detail. How could he not know he’d liked it? A genuine mistake? Pull the other one. At the very least we are entitled to question his impartiality.

Ikram’s record on the bench has since been subjected to well-warranted scrutiny. He hasn’t always shown such leniency in other cases.

In 2022, he jailed police constable James Watts for sharing racist memes on WhatsApp about the sainted George Floyd, whose murder by a Minnesota cop sparked the Black Lives Matter madness. He then boasted about that sentence to a gathering of American law students.

In December he handed out suspended prison and community service sentences to six retired police officers who shared racist jokes about Meghan Markle, again on WhatsApp.

How would he have reacted if they’d all argued that they couldn’t remember sharing the jokes, or that they’d made a ‘genuine mistake’?

WhatsApp messages are supposed to be private. What’s the difference between what they did and Ikram liking a racist post on Instagram, another online forum?

The paraglider images were displayed in public, on the streets on London, in the aftermath of the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. The weekly pro-Palestine/Hamas marches in London and elsewhere are throwing petrol on the flames of the worst outbreak on anti-Semitism in Britain since the 1930s.

We can argue until the cows some home about whether these women should have been brought to court, since far worse hate crimes against Jews are being committed on the same marches and going unpunished. We can also debate where free speech and legitimate protest ends.

But there can be no argument about Judge Ikram’s application of double standards. Happy to hand out jail sentences to police officers over private WhatsApp messages, but soft on those considered by the police and CPS, and ‘any reasonable person’, of glorifying terrorism in public.

Heba Alhayek, 29

Heba Alhayek, 29

Pauline Ankunda, 26

Pauline Ankunda, 26

For defence counsel to claim that paragliders are a ‘symbol of peace’ is taking us – and the court – for fools. And for Ikram to show sympathy because ‘emotions ran high’ is farcical.

Emotions are often running high when a crime is committed – whether someone bottling a bloke for looking at his bird in a boozer on a Saturday night or invading the pitch because his team has just gone three down after ten minutes. But it’s no defence.

Yet when it comes to crimes committed in the name of wokery – including blocking motorways and glorifying terrorism – emotion frequently trumps natural justice these days.

In Judge Ikram’s opinion, making private jokes about Meghan Markle is a far more serious offence than glamourising Hamas murderers.

And to add insult to injury, one of the women was excused having to pay costs because her ‘immigration status’ prevents her receiving benefits. You couldn’t, etc.

For once, there can be no criticism of the Met or the CPS, both of whom diligently pursued the arrest and prosecution of these women.

But Judge Ikram’s decision not to punish them, coupled with his liking of a ‘Free Free Palestine’ social media post by an anti-Israel conspiracy theorist, not only throws his impartiality in to question but again raises the very real suspicion that Britain now operates a two-tier justice system, in thrall to wokery.

Ikram has been rightly criticised by everyone from Downing Street to the Jewish Leadership Council and former Home Secretary Sue Ellen Braverman.

Critics say he should be suspended from the bench until a full review can be carried out into not just his motives in letting these women off scot-free but also how he was ever allowed to hear this case in the first place.

I second that emotion.

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