EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court

EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court

He was a member of the nativist British National Party before co-founding the English Defence League, which he led from 2009 until 2013, when he joined a Muslim-friendly, anti-extremist think tank called the Quilliam Foundation.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, was sentenced to 10 months for contempt of court and a further three months for breaching the terms of a previous suspended sentence.

The speed at which Robinson was arrested, tried and sentenced-five hours-alarmed and angered his many supporters in the United Kingdom and overseas.

Supporters in the United Kingdom also set up a petition online, titled "Free Tommy Robinson", with descriptions in eight languages-English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, Czech and Russian.

The judge imposed a reporting restriction on Robinson's sentence, but it was successfully challenged Tuesday by media outlets.

At the time of the incident, jurors were in the process of considering verdicts after hearing six weeks' of evidence.

Robinson was reporting on a trial involving 29 defendants who were facing charges in relation to child sex abuse and neglect.

He told her: "Many of our viewers may have watched your activities in the a year ago and a half and think you have treated your sister Meghan in a very shabby way".

"If I have to do that it will mean a re-trial, costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pounds".

Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court. He was already serving a suspended sentence for committing contempt of court over a gang rape case heard in Canterbury in May past year.

Robinson was outside Leeds Crown Court that day, hosting a Facebook live about a child grooming trial that was underway, one of a series of high-profile child grooming cases that the United Kingdom has seen over the last decade.

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The trial Robinson live-streamed was covered by restrictions on what could be reported while it was underway - a common practice in Britain, created to protect the impartiality of the jury.

What happened at Robinson's trial?

Former editor-in-chief of far-right Breitbart News Raheem Kassam, who attended the rally, argued that Robinson is "a political prisoner", who he said "was arrested, charged and tried and sentenced - all within the period of four to five hours".

His barrister told the court Robinson felt "deep regret" after becoming aware of the potential consequences of his actions.

He also said Robinson was aware of the reporting restrictions around the case, but believed what he was saying was already in the public domain.

"No one could possible conclude that [Robison's reportage] would be anything other than highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trail", said Judge Geoffrey Marson QC.

According to the group's website, they stand for "free speech in practice" and "free speech in the law". That's one of the most important rights that we have. "With those rights come responsibilities".

His supporters insist freedom of speech is at stake, while critics say he was actually putting the successful outcome of criminal trials at risk.

Addressing Robinson, Judge Marson said: "I am not sure you appreciate the potential effect of what you have done". Some protesters got into minor scuffles with police but no arrests or injuries were reported.

Journalists must be extremely careful with what they report during an active trial, so as not to fall under contempt.

The video footage was played to the judge in court before he dealt with Robinson.

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