Ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson spared jail for contempt of court
The 34-year-old was sentenced to three months jail, suspended for 18 months.
The former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) has been given a suspended prison sentence for contempt of court after trying to film four men who were on trial accused of gang-raping a teenage girl, it can now be reported.
A judge said her decision on whether to send Tommy Robinson, 34, to jail immediately was on a “knife-edge” after he tried to confront the accused men at Canterbury Crown Court in Kent on May 8.
In video posted online as the trial was part-heard, Robinson filmed himself describing the “Muslim” defendants as “paedophiles” and that “it’s going on across our country”.
In the footage, which was uploaded to YouTube and shown in court, Robinson is seen doing a piece-to-camera outside the court entrance and tells how police asked him not to film the men.
Speaking to the camera, he tells viewers: “The paedophiles are in court, hiding I think, because they ain’t coming out. The court case finished a while ago.
“There is now back-up here. A police officer came out to ask us, ‘Please don’t film them’. What? For real? ‘Please don’t expose them as paedophiles, please’. Well, we will.”
As it emerges the accused men have left court, the footage then cuts to Robinson filming himself inside the courthouse before a voice in the background tells him no cameras are allowed in the building.
At Canterbury Crown Court on May 22, Robinson, who appeared under his real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was told by Judge Heather Norton she found clear evidence of contempt of court and it was an offence under Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act.
Robinson, who arrived at court with an overnight bag, apologised in person to the judge, adding he had “absolutely no intention” of derailing the rape trial.
Rebel Media, for whom Robinson was working for when filming at Canterbury, has since put lawyers on a retainer to vet and instruct their output.
Sentencing him to three months jail, suspended for 18 months, Judge Norton said: “There are notices all over the court building making it clear that filming or taking photographs is an offence and may be a contempt of court.”
The judge said Robinson made it “abundantly clear” his purpose was to try to film the defendants and the reason he failed was because the court took avoiding action.
Judge Norton went on: “This is not about freedom of speech or freedom of the press. This is not about legitimate journalism or political correctness. It’s about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly, and ensuring that a jury is not in any way inhibited in carrying out its important function.”
Robinson co-founded the EDL before leaving to work with The Quilliam Foundation. His sentencing can now be reported following the conclusion of the rape trial.
Tamin Rahmani, 37, of Northwood Road, Ramsgate, Shershah Muslimyar, 20, of Hovenden Close, Canterbury, Rafiullah Hamidy, 24, formerly of Northwood Road and a teenager, who cannot be named, were each convicted of rape and will be sentenced at a later date.
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