UK far-right figure Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt
LONDON (AP) — Tommy Robinson, a prominent far-right activist in Britain, has been jailed for 13 months after live-streaming outside a criminal trial in violation of reporting restrictions, a court said Tuesday.
Robinson, a pseudonym of 35-year-old Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arrested Friday at Leeds Crown Court in northern England, where he was broadcasting details of an ongoing trial on Facebook.
The trial is covered by restrictions on what can be reported while it’s underway — a common practice in Britain, designed to protect the impartiality of the jury.
Judge Geoffrey Marson told Robinson that his actions could be “highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trial.” He said Robinson had broadcast details of the defendants and the charges they face, including some wrong information.
Robinson was earlier convicted of contempt of court in May 2017 for broadcasting at a rape trial and given a three-month suspended sentence. The judge in that case told him that he would be imprisoned if he committed “a further contempt of court by similar actions.”
Robinson pleaded guilty on Friday to contempt of court and breaching the terms of his suspended sentence. He also has previous convictions for assault, fraud and other offenses.
The judge in Leeds imposed a reporting restriction on Robinson’s latest conviction, but it was successfully challenged Tuesday by media outlets.
Robinson, founder of the now-defunct English Defence League, is a self-styled journalist and commentator who issues a steady stream of anti-Muslim statements online.
News of his arrest had sparked calls on social media for his release, and a demonstration Saturday outside the British prime minister’s Downing Street office.