Tommy Robinson jailed for nine months for contempt of court
Tommy Robinson has been jailed for contempt of court after he filmed defendants in a criminal trial and broadcast the footage on social media.
The English Defence League founder, real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sentenced to nine months in prison at the Old Bailey.
Robinson filmed defendants accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls and live-streamed the footage, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.
He was found to have committed contempt of court following a two-day hearing at the Old Bailey last week.
Lawyers for Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC said the far-right activist’s “whole objective” was to “get the defendants’ faces out there”.
Robinson denied any wrongdoing and said he did not believe he was breaching reporting restrictions and only referred to information that was already in the public domain.
Statement from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox
Today’s sentencing of Yaxley-Lennon serves to illustrate how seriously the courts will take matters of contempt.
Posting material online that breaches reporting restrictions or risks prejudicing legal proceedings has consequences, and I would urge everyone to think carefully about whether their social media posts could amount to contempt of court.
Sentence ‘reflects the gravity’ of the offence
Full sentencing remarks from Dame Victoria Sharp:
“We are in no doubt that the custody threshold is crossed in this case, in particular having regard to the common law contempt that the respondent committed.
“Nothing less than a custodial penalty would properly reflect the gravity of the conduct we have identified. The court is also concerned to demonstrate its determination to uphold the rule of law.
“The respondent (Robinson) cannot be given credit for pleading guilty. He has lied about a number of matters and sought to portray himself as the victim of unfairness and oppression.
“This does not increase his sentence, but it does mean that there can be no reduction for an admission of guilt.”
Robinson: ‘Time for protests to start’
Robinson has used his Telegram account to call on his supporters to protest outside
“whatever prison I’m in on Saturday please”.
He said: “Sentenced to prison for journalism. Time for protests to start, this is an absolute joke!”
Telegram is a Russian-based alternative to messaging apps like WhatsApp with end-to-end encryption.
- Tommy Robinson sent back to jail for contempt of court
- Sentence means he will be behind bars for just under 10 weeks
- He faced trial for filming men accused of sex offences outside court
- Incident outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018 was streamed on Facebook
- Robinson served two months in prison before original conviction was quashed
Violent clashes have erupted outside court after the sentencing was booed by Robinson’s supporters. Some have pelted police with bottles and cans and officers have donned their helmets.