Tommy Robinson in court for contempt case after social media controversy

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 10:45 am
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 3:07 pm
Tommy Robinson is due to appear in court to face an allegation of contempt of court (Photo: Getty Images)

Tommy Robinson - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - is due to appear in court later today (Thu 4 Jul) to face a contempt of court charge.

The far-right activist will appear in front of a judge after his initial conviction for contempt of court, when he allegedly filmed defendants in a criminal trial and broadcasted footage on social media was overturned by the court of appeal in August 2018.

Robinson had spent two months in prison prior to the appeal decision, and could be sent back to jail if the application by the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox QC, to look at the charge again is successful.

Maximum sentence of two years

If successful, the maximum sentence of two years could be applied to the 36 year old from Luton.

The initial case in May 2018 saw Robinson jailed for 13 months after he filmed people involved in a criminal trial at Leeds crown court, before broadcasting the footage on social media. A suspended sentence for contempt, of three months in jail after an incident at Canterbury crown court in May 2017, was included in the original sentence.

The video streamed from Leeds crown court was seen more than 250,000 times and lasted an hour and a half, and concerned a trial of members of a Huddersfield grooming gang.

The trial had been covered by a reporting restriction banning publication of any details until after the end of several linked cases, to ensure fair trials.

The contempt hearing is due to last until the end of Friday (5 Jul), with Robinson expected to give evidence.

‘Great concern’

At a hearing at the Old Bailey in June, Robinson’s behaviour during the Leeds trial was described as a “great concern”.

Andrew Caldecott QC said that Robinson said, “Harass him, find him, go knock on his door, follow him, see where he works, see what he’s doing” about one of the defendants in the case.

In written submissions to the court, reported by The Guardian, Caldecott states Robinson’s lawyers had listed reasons why contempt proceedings should not go ahead, including the cost to the public, the “exceptionally arduous” conditions of imprisonment, and a medical issue.

This story originally appeared on our sister site, the Yorkshire Evening Post.