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Tommy Robinson jailed after breaking contempt of court laws

The Independent logo The Independent 29/05/2018

Former leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson © PA Former leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months for breaking contempt of court laws.

His sentence can be revealed for the first time after The Independent fought a reporting restriction put on the case at Leeds Crown Court.

Robinson, whose real name was listed on court documents as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arrested outside the court on Friday.

He admitted committing contempt of court by publishing information that could prejudice an ongoing trial via a live stream on his Facebook page.

Tommy Robinson (centre) outside Airdrie Sheriff Court after Mark Meechan was fined £800 for an offence under the Communications Act for posting a YouTube video of a dog giving Nazi salutes. © Press Association Tommy Robinson (centre) outside Airdrie Sheriff Court after Mark Meechan was fined £800 for an offence under the Communications Act for posting a YouTube video of a dog giving Nazi salutes. At one point the video was being viewed by more than 10,000 people, as Robinson attempted to film defendants entering the court and discussed the case, which is subject to a separate reporting restriction.

A judge initially banned media reports of the contempt case against Robinson over fears it could affect the ongoing trial, but lifted the order on Tuesday after hearing submissions over how members of the public were violating it on social media.

Robinson made clear that he was aware of the restrictions during the Facebook Live video, as well as the danger of being jailed.

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson outside Airdrie Sheriff Court after Mark Meechan was fined �800 for an offence under the Communications Act for posting a YouTube video of a dog giving Nazi salutes © Press Association Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson outside Airdrie Sheriff Court after Mark Meechan was fined �800 for an offence under the Communications Act for posting a YouTube video of a dog giving Nazi salutes The 35-year-old was already subject to a suspended sentence for committing contempt during a rape trial in Canterbury last year, and had been told that if he fell foul of the law again he would go to prison.

“There is a reporting restriction on this case,” the former English Defence League (EDL) founder said.

“I have to be super careful, you see, because when I was coming to these court cases, part of what the police did was they dawn raided me and they put me on a contempt of court charge, which would mean that I could face prison.”

Robinson first broke contempt of court laws, which aim to safeguard the judicial process and stop trials collapsing over fears the jury has been swayed, over a rape case in Canterbury last year.


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