Tommy Robinson sentenced to nine months in jail for contempt of court

PUBLISHED: 11:47 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 11 July 2019

Tommy Robinson with Katy Hopkins as he arrives for his sentencing at the Old Bailey in London. Henry Vaughan/PA Wire

Tommy Robinson with Katy Hopkins as he arrives for his sentencing at the Old Bailey in London. Henry Vaughan/PA Wire

Tommy Robinson has been jailed for nine months after being found guilty of contempt of court for a video he livestreamed outside court in breach of a reporting ban.

The former English Defence League (EDL) leader attended court for his sentencing 20 minutes late, wearing a t-shirt reading "convicted of journalism", saying he had been delayed by supporters. He was accompanied outside court by far-right commentator Katie Hopkins.

He had been found to have committed contempt of court in a retrial by Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Warby at the Old Bailey, for filming and livestreaming the defendants in a child grooming case in 2018.

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. 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". He also "aggressively" confronted some of the defendants.

The 36-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not think he was in breach of reporting restrictions.

However, the restrictions had been in place to postpone publication of any details of the case until the end of all the trials, in order to ensure a fair trial of the 29 defendants.

Robinson had initially been jailed for 13 months for the offence on the day of the broadcast. However, after serving two months in jail, his original case was overturned by the Court of Appeal. Fresh proceedings were found by the Attorney General to be in the public interest in March this year.

Anyone found in contempt of court can be jailed for up to two years, receive an unlimited fine, or both.

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In an appearance on the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars on Monday, Robinson asked Donald Trump to grant him asylum in the USA, claiming he faced being killed in prison if he was jailed on Thursday.

After the sentencing, Robinson called for protests outside his prison via his Telegram account.

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