Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a.k.a. Tommy Robinson, jailed for nine months

© Luke Dray/Getty ImagesFar-right activist and former leader and founder of English Defence League Tommy Robinson
Far-right activist and former leader and founder of English Defence League Tommy Robinson

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to nine months in jail for contempt of court.

The 36-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had broadcast a live Facebook video featuring defendants in a criminal trial.

He was found guilty following a two-day hearing at the Old Bailey last week.

The video, filmed outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018, was viewed online 250,000 when it was broadcast live. Robinson filmed men accused of sexually exploiting young girls, breaching a reporting ban on the trial.

Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Warby found that Robinson was in contempt by breaching the ban, live-streaming the video from outside the court’s public entrance and “aggressively confronting and filming” defendants.

He was ruled to have encouraged ‘vigilante action’ in the video.

He had argued in his defence that he did not believe he was breaching restrictions and that any information he gave was already public.

Robinson broadcast the footage while the jury in the second of a series of linked grooming trials was considering its verdict.

The video was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.

A reporting restriction was in place which postponed the publication of any details of the case until the end of all the trials involving 29 people, in a bid to ensure all defendants received a fair trial.

Robinson was jailed for 13 months after being found in contempt of court on the day of the broadcast.

He served 10 weeks in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.

But the case was then referred back to the Attorney General, who announced in March that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against Robinson.

Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby gave permission for the Attorney General to bring a new case against Robinson at a hearing in May.

Robinson was told that the time he previously spent behind bars for the contempt will be taken into account, reducing his sentence to 19 weeks – of which he will serve half before being released.

He referred to the sentence as an “absolute joke”, having arrived at court in a t-shirt that said “Convicted of Journalism” with a design comparing the UK to North Korea on the back.

Supporters of Robinson gathered outside the court as the sentence was handed down.

Police in riot gear were drafted in as missiles were thrown and clashes erupted.

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