Stephen Lennon (Tommy Robinson) has been jailed for 13 months after breaking contempt of court laws while live-streaming outside a trial
Already under a suspended sentence for contempt of court violations in Canterbury last year, Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) is now starting a 13-month prison term, following his arrest last week while filming outside a court in Leeds.
The 35-year-old multiply-convicted criminal and extremist had been streaming an hour-long rant outside Leeds Crown Court to Facebook.
Ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson jailed at Leeds court https://t.co/v8g22cgdCQ
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 29, 2018
He had named defendants in a case, the charges and details of the allegations they faced, as well as filming defendants and confronting them outside court.
Yet a strict order had been (and is still) in place, temporarily banning publication or broadcasting details of the long-running case or anyone involved.
The court heard it could cost taxpayers “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds” if a re-trial had to be held.
Jailing Lennon, judge Geroffrey Marson QC said the “integrity” of the case had to be upheld.
“Nothing may occur which will prejudice the trial.
“Everyone understands the right to freedom of speech but there are responsibilities and obligations.”
The judge, who had viewed Lennon’s video, said it had referred to some charges that had not proceeded against some of the defendants.
The footage was seen about a quarter of a million times online.
The judge added:
“Not only was it a very long video but I regard it as a serious aggravating feature that he was encouraging others to share it and it had been shared widely.
“That is the nature of the contempt.”
Lennon was already on a suspended sentence for a previous contempt offence in Canterbury last year.
At that earlier sentencing hearing, the judge warned him he should expect to go to prison if he committed further offences.
Predictably, Lennon’s supporters took to the streets outside No.10 to protest his latest jailing, and to Hyde Park the following day.
Tommy Robinson supporters are chanting “scum scum scum” at police officers. pic.twitter.com/hqMSJWwTVH
— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) May 26, 2018
Hundreds of thousands have signed a petition demanding his release: perhaps someone should remind them of Britain’s contempt laws.