‘Tommy Robinson’ faces possible two years in prison for contempt of court

The far right-wing extremist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – who goes by the stage name ‘Tommy Robinson’ – has been found guilty of contempt of court by making a Facebook Live broadcast of defendants in a criminal trial.

The broadcast interfered with the trial of a sexual grooming gang at Leeds Crown Court in May last year.

The broadcast could have led to the defendants walking free and a new trial having to be held, at a large cost to the public purse.

Yaxley-Lennon, the 36-year-old former English Defence League leader, was originally jailed for 13 months on the day of the broadcast but was released two months into the sentence, after winning an appeal.

The case was then referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who announced, in March, that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings.

Sentencing is set to take place on July 11, although this is a provisional date.

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

Robinson broadcast the footage from outside the court on 25 May 2018, while the jury in the second trial of the series was considering its verdict.

The video lasted an hour-and-a-half and was viewed online 250,000 times after being live-streamed on Facebook.

The maximum sentence for contempt of court is two years in prison, but it can also be punished with an unlimited fine.

Contempt includes publishing anything that creates a substantial risk of seriously prejudicing “active” criminal proceedings. Proceedings become “active” when a suspect is arrested.

Someone could also be in contempt by actions including taking photographs or film, recording what is said in court or talking to a jury member about a case.

Yaxley-Lennon reportedly said he had been convicted for who he was, not what he had done.

That seems an odd interpretation of events – at the very least.

Source: Tommy Robinson guilty over Facebook broadcast – BBC News

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3 thoughts on “‘Tommy Robinson’ faces possible two years in prison for contempt of court

  1. rogerglewis


    Tommy Robinson and the Contemptible Politicisation of Freedom of the Press.

    I do think this case is a watershed in Civil Liberties, Free Speech and Freedom of the press. The Case recently which Mr Robinson ( Yaxley Lennon) brought against Cambridgeshire police, on another matter similarly saw the appointment of a “Special Interest” Judge and a similarly tainted verdict. The Language choices in the judgement are Pertinent to a subtext of authoritarian condescension, even by the arcane standards of Legal Language any independent observer can grasp the sneering tone and incredulity in the written words, should one attend a reading of the judgement in person I am sure it would be redolent of Peter Cook in Drag.


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