Tommy Robinson jailed over Leeds Crown Court contempt

Erika Holt
July 12, 2019

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name of Tommy Robinson, has been jailed for 9 months for contempt of court.

Robinson had instructed his lawyer "to read out a series of past Contempt of Court findings against newspapers which (in summary) had not led to jail terms for editors or reporters accused of disrupting trials", according to BBC reporter Dominic Casciani, but to no avail, with judges imposing a custodial term only one month shorter than his previous sentence, declaring that "the main goal of the penalty is punishment and deterrence".

Despite Robinson trying to expose the grooming gang he feel foul of the law, it's not known if Robinson was aware reporting restrictions were in place as usually the media are informed of such restrictions when they request the information from the courts.

Sharp said Robinson had encouraged "vigilante action" in the hour-and-a-half video, which was viewed online 250,000 times the same day and has been viewed 3.4 million times in total.

Robinson streamed the defendants, charged with the sexual exploitation of minors in 2017, on Facebook during their trial, while court rules prohibited the release of the case details at that time.

The office said Robinson was sentenced to six months in prison for that incident and a further three months for a previous contempt. Robinson will serve up to one half of that period to reflect the time already served.

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Robinson, 36, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was found to have committed contempt of court on Friday, following a two-day High Court hearing held at the Old Bailey.

The maximum sentence for contempt of court is two years in prison, but it can also be punished with an unlimited fine. Yaxley-Lennon, who uses the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, was arrested and jailed a year ago for potentially prejudicing a trial after the Facebook broadcast outside a trial of men accused of sexually abusing teenage girls.

They concluded he was in contempt by breaching the reporting restriction imposed on the trial, by live-streaming the video from outside the public entrance to the court and by "aggressively confronting and filming" some of the defendants.

Some in the crowd began pelting police with bottles and cans before they made their way to Parliament Square.

His case was referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox who launched new proceedings in March, arguing it was in the public's interest. The words he used, said the judge, would be read as "an incitement" to harass the defendants "gave rise to a real risk the course of justice would be seriously impeded".

However, he was later released from jail on bail last August because the process that convicted him for contempt was deemed to be flawed by Court of Appeal judges.

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