Thursday, 19 September, 2019

United Kingdom far-right activist gets 9 months in prison for contempt

Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court Stephen Yaxley-Lennon committed to prison for contempt of court
Patty Aguilar | 11 July, 2019, 22:03

The court ruled that his actions could have jeopardised the trial of a gang of alleged sex offenders who were accused of abusing young girls.

The ex-English Defence League leader was found guilty last week of interfering with the trial of a sexual grooming gang at Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.

Tommy Robinson has been jailed for nine months over contempt of court.

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

Police were then pelted with cans and plastic bottles as the group began chanting "we want Tommy out".

She said that the goal of sentencing for contempt was "punishment and deterrence of the contemnor", adding: "The court is also concerned to demonstrate its determination to uphold the rule of law".

Tommy Robinson supporters stand outside the Old Bailey courthouse in London on Thursday, where clashes are reported to have become violent.

Throughout the Old Bailey hearing, Robinson denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not believe he was breaching reporting restrictions and only referred to information that was already in the public domain.

Robinson, who founded the English Defense League organization, was originally sentenced previous year to 13 months in jail after broadcasting the Leeds footage, but was released two months into the term following a successful appeal.

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His previous time in prison for the same offence saw the sentence reduced to 19 weeks, and the far-right activist will be released after serving half of it.

Giving reasons for the contempt finding on Tuesday, Dame Victoria said Robinson encouraged "vigilante action" in the video, which lasted an hour-and-a-half and was viewed online 250,000 times on the morning of the broadcast.

The video was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.

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.

During the 2018 case at Leeds Crown Court, reporting restrictions had been put in place postponing the publication of any details until the end of a series of linked trials involving 29 defendants.

Originally he was jailed for 13 months, but was released after 2, following an appeal.

Fresh proceedings were found by the Attorney General to be in the public interest in March this year.

Earlier this week, Robinson begged for political asylum from US President Donald Trump after his conviction.

Robinson arrived at court wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "convicted of journalism", and also sporting a badge reading "I support soldiers A-Z".

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