Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Tommy Robinson wins appeal of contempt of court sentence

Tommy Robinson wins appeal of contempt of court sentence

British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, a darling of Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., Ezra Levant and the US alt-right, has been released on bail while he appeals a finding of contempt of court.

"We are satisfied that the decision at Leeds Crown Court to proceed to committal to prison so promptly... gave rise to unfairness".

According to the judgement summary released on Wednesday, after the jury was sent out to deliberate, he was filming with commentary on the courtroom steps and inside the building, although not inside the courtroom.

Robinson, 35, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was the founder of the now defunct, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant EDL that led a campaign against what it claimed was the overrunning of Britain by immigrants and Islam.

The footage, which lasted around an hour, was watched 250,000 times within hours of being posted on Facebook.

A further three months were added to his imprisonment for breaching a previous suspended sentence related to an incident at Canterbury Crown Court in May 2017.

That hearing was adjourned until 22 May, when the judge explained that the filming could have the effect of derailing the trial.

A core part of the British legal system is that justice should be seen to be done - and this is where the press comes in - but there are cases where a judge decides to place restrictions on this reporting to avoid jurors being influenced.

He will attend the Old Bailey for the Leeds allegation to be reheard.

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"We invite the Attorney General to nominate an advocate to appear at the fresh hearing".

Today, the Court of Appeal said that very same right to a fair hearing means Robinson should have a full opportunity to put his case without rushing to judge.

Lord Burnett said the judge should not have commenced contempt proceedings the same day he was arrested.

In the United Kingdom, "contempt of court" means you have violated the rules of court proceedings by compromising the integrity of the trial. The judgment, they said, represented a "victory for free speech".

Robinson has been ordered to stay away from Leeds Crown Court while on bail and remain at least 400 metres from the building.

Operating under #FreeTommy, there have been concerted protests against Robinson's sentence.

Donald Trump Jr and Steve Bannon have both expressed their support for Robinson in the past.

He has become well-known worldwide for his protests against what he calls the "Islamisation of our countries" and his anti-immigrant - and particularly anti-Muslim-immigrant - views speak to some in the USA, particularly Trump supporters on the hard-right of the political spectrum.

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