Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Campaigners respond to newspaper articles

Campaigners on behalf of Tony Leamon have taken up the inaccurate portrayal of his case in two newspapers following his bail delay earlier this month. The first is from the ever reliable Celtic League who have been campaigning on Tony’s behalf from the outset. The League’s General Secretary made a complaint to the ‘Western Morning News’ newspaper, who made a series of errors in their article on 3rd July 2008, which was featured on this site. The second complaint is from a campaigner in the USA, who took issue with The Sun’s sensationalist and highly patronising news item about Tony, so commonly associated with that particular newspaper.

The Celtic League’s response can be found here and the US campaigner’s response can be found below. Well done both!

I am writing to you … regarding the article that appeared in the July 4 edition of the Sun about Tony Leamon.

While you are to be commended for featuring the article, I must say that your lack of confirmed facts leaves much to be desired.
I've a few questions concerning the article.

1. "The Cornish National Liberation Army, dubbed the Ooh-Arr A, wanted to back a member answering bail on a gun charge." It's my understanding that membership in the Cornish National Liberation Army is in itself a criminal offense.
If Mr. Leamon is a member of the CNLA (which he is most certainly not), why has he not been charged as a terrorist?

2. "The organisation boasted on websites that supporters from Mexico the US and Australia would support Tony Leamon, 58, at Camborne police station. But when he arrived the only follower was student Jezz Evans."
Having been involved with this thing since September of 2007, I can honestly say that I know of no supporters from "Mexico". I am also unaware of anyone from the US or Australia who planned to show up at the Camborne police station. It is also my understanding (and I heard this from Tony Leamon himself) that a policeman arrived at Tony's house at 11:30 AM the day his bail hearing was scheduled to tell Tony that it had been moved back to July 31.
So, when did Mr. Leamon "arrive"?
Was any research put into finding out why only one person showed up to offer support for Mr. Leamon?
Could that have been because Mr. Leamon took the time to contact people and tell them about the rescheduling of his bail hearing?
Where are the "websites" that your article mentions?
Are these websites maintained by the CNLA?

3. But the cops said they were "not aware of any calls relating to the inquiry."
"Cops" were quoted, but no one by name.
I was waiting to speak with a "cop" when I received word from Mr. Leamon that his bail hearing had been rescheduled.
Who were these "cops" and why wasn't my telephone call mentioned?
Did any research go into this "lack" of telephone calls.
I am aware of at least three people from New Mexico who attempted to get through to the Camborne police station.

4. I've been told that the so-called gun charge had to do with a World War vintage rifle that has a lead filled barrel and is incapable of firing. I've also been told that the photo of the gun was a full blown practical joke and that Mr. Leamon has provided the paperwork to prove that the gun is worthless as a weapon.
Mentioning a gun charge in an article about anyone could destroy a person's career prospects, this is obviously a petty point for yourself and your newspaper.
Mentioning a gun charge without pointing out all of the facts involved was very reckless and uncaring on your part as well as your editor's.
Was any research put into the gun charge?
Why weren't the facts about the gun mentioned in your article?

5. The Celtic League (which is not affiliated with the CNLA) urged people to send emails to the Devon/Cornwall police in support of Mr. Leamon. I know of at least twelve people in my town other than myself who sent emails expressing concern for the Draconian treatment the Mr. Leamon is receiving from the State.
Why was no mention made in your article of what is truly international support for Mr. Leamon?

6. Your article made a very serious, life impacting accusation by calling Mr. Leamon a member of the CNLA.
Was any time devoted to finding the true facts here?
Did you give any thought at all to what this could do to a person's life?
Was this article published for the good of the community as a whole or as a trite piece of filler for your newpaper?

7. Tony Leamon is a member of the Cornish Branch of the Celtic League and a committed pacifist. He has often asked his supporters to treat the police with kindness and dignity when they make contact.
Was any effort made to contact Tony to hear his side of things?
Was any effort made to contact the Celtic League, which is a well respected group, to get a better understanding of this case?

I will look forward to your reply.

Kindest regards,

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