Tommy Robinson to face new case for ‘filming outside sex gang court case’
Two High Court judges have granted permission for Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, to be retried.
Robinson was jailed for 13 months in last May after he filmed people involved in a criminal trial at Leeds Crown Court and broadcast the footage on social media.
The case was then referred back to the Attorney General, who announced in March that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against Robinson.
The 36-year-old, from Luton, could be sent back to jail if he is again found in contempt, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.
Crowds gathered outside court ahead of the hearing in support of Robinson, who is standing for election as an MEP for the North West region in the European elections later this month, as well as a counter demonstration organised by Stand Up To Racism.
Lady Justice Sharp said permission would be given for fresh proceedings to go ahead on all grounds.
After the court’s decision was announced, the crowd booed and chanted “shame on you”.
Attorney General “concerned”
The court heard from Geoffrey Cox the Attorney General stating concerned about the conduct of Robinson outside Leeds Crown Court.
Mr Caldecott said Robinson said: “Harass him, find him, go knock on his door, follow him, see where he works, see what he’s doing.”
Mr Caldecott said Robinson said he hoped his video would be shared and seen by “hopefully millions” of people.
Mr Caldecott said: “The Attorney General is extremely concerned that conduct of the kind, particularly in those two passages seen in the context of the wider video, should in any way be considered as acceptable.”
Robinson said his behaviour was lawful
Caldecott: The lawyer for Geoffrey Cox says Robinson was “plainly contending that his behaviour towards the defendants was lawful”.
He told the court Robinson searched for reporting restriction guidelines online, and has received media training after his last contempt of court finding.
Mr Caldecott said it was “unfortunate” the history of the case was prolonged, and accepted it was stressful.
But said there were “policy reasons” for the case to go ahead.
Action against Robinson “not proportionate” said his lawyer
Attorney General says Robinson knew about restrictions
Making the case for new proceedings, Mr Caldecott has said Robinson “published the video knowing that there was some sort of reporting restriction in place and recklessly, recognising that the terms of the order might well prohibit the reporting he was engaged in, but unreasonably taking that risk”.
The application for new proceedings came from his live streaming of a video from outside Leeds Crown Court.
The attorney general said he knows Robinson will argue “could not obtain any specific details of the reporting restriction order”.
In the “absence of such details, he held a genuine belief, based on guidance published on the Judiciary website, which he claims to have consulted that very morning, and professional training he had received, that no order could restrict him from reporting the material that he included in the video”.
Mr Caldecott said the Attorney General “does not accept this version of events”.
The Attorney General’s case is that publication of the video “gave rise to a substantial risk that the course of justice would be seriously impeded”