The 9/11 truth movement had its day in court this week, as the BBC’s news coverage of the attacks was cited in a case of an unpaid TV licence.
Tony Rooke, 49, of Broyle Close, Chichester, pleaded not guilty to using a television without a licence.
He told Horsham Magistrates’ Court that he was not prepared to give money to the BBC because of the way it had covered the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
He said the BBC’s reporting of the incident and subsequent investigations made it complicit in acts of terrorism.
Therefore, he argued, paying for his licence would put him in breach of Section 15 of the Terrorism Act, which makes it illegal to provide funds for a terrorist group.
“I’ve been to the police, I’ve spoken to the BBC about this, I’ve spoken to the Home Office, who’ve assured me that there are no exceptions to Section 15,” he said.
Rooke asked to submit evidence which he said would show that the BBC had consistently failed to report the true story.
“The BBC had prior knowledge of an act of terrorism, by at least 20 minutes, and didn’t contact the police,” he said.
He referred to the collapse of ‘WTC 7’ - a third building on the World Trade Centre site - claiming that it ‘could be nothing other than a controlled demolition’, and that the BBC had reported its collapse 20 minutes before it actually happened.
Garth Hannaford, representing TV Licensing, said one of their enforcement officers went to Rooke’s home on May 23 last year, and he had admitted watching TV without a licence.
“This is not a public enquiry into the events of 9/11, this is a prosecution under Section 363 of the Communications Act,” he said.
He challenged Rooke as to why he kept on watching BBC programmes, while claiming to disagree so strongly with the corporation’s output.
“I had a licence at the time of the coverage,” said Rooke.
“I continued to watch because ignorance is no excuse.”
He told District Judge Stephen Nicholls: “I will pay for a TV licence once the police finds that the BBC are guilty of withholding information.
“If they are funding terrorism, then I don’t pay.
“I truly do feel that yourself and the people who are here should be made aware of what they are funding.”
There were cries of ‘hear hear’ from the public gallery, which was packed with Rooke’s supporters and well-wishers.
Judge Nicholls said that, even if he accepted and agreed with the evidence, that would not give him grounds to rule that Rooke was not guilty.
A magistrates’ court did not have the authority to make a ruling under the Terrorism Act, he said, so he would not be able to say that the need to obey it outweighed the need to obey the Communications Act.
He found Rooke guilty, and imposed a six month conditional discharge with £200 legal costs.
Outside court, Rooke said the case had been a ‘score draw’ since the judge had looked at the evidence - albeit in private - and had decided not to fine him.
He called for anyone who has evidence which challenges the official version of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to pass it to the authorities.
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