Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court

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Tommy Robinson has been jailed for nine months over contempt of court.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.Two Old Bailey judges said his Facebook Live video of defendants in the trial had encouraged “vigilante action”.A social media account in Robinson’s name called the sentence an “absolute joke” and said it was time to protest.Outside the London court, supporters of Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, booed as news of his sentence reached them.The crowd marched towards the Old Bailey chanting “we want Tommy out” before some began pelting police with bottles and cans.

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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.However, Robinson broadcast 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.He was originally jailed for 13 months on the day of the broadcast, but was released two months into his sentence after winning an appeal.The case was then referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who announced in March this year that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings.At the Old Bailey on Thursday, Dame Victoria Sharp told Robinson that the time he previously spent behind bars for the contempt would be taken into account, reducing his sentence to 19 weeks – of which he would serve half before being released.Speaking after the sentencing, the attorney general said the sentencing illustrated how seriously the courts would take matters of contempt and urged everyone to think carefully about whether their social media posts could amount to contempt of court.


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