Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months, for breaking contempt of court laws.
Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arrested outside Leeds Crown Court on Friday, May 25.
The 35-year-old was seen on video being searched and then led towards the back of a police van, which was eventually posted on his Facebook page.
His arrest sparked a huge protest outside 10 Downing Street with many supporters demanding he be released.
Police officers were sent out to monitor the crowd, many of whom could be seen holding #FreeTommy placards. One said: ‘Free the truth teller. Free Tommy’.
The protest soon made its way down to Parliament Square. The Met Police confirmed no arrests were made.
As per Leeds Live, who explained the jail sentence in layman terms:
Robinson, or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed because he was found in contempt of court – an offence he was already serving a suspended sentence for.
A judge sentenced him to three months imprisonment suspended for 18 months last May, after he was found in contempt of court over a case in Canterbury.
He was warned that committing further offences would result in imprisonment – and that is what happened on Friday.
Contempt of Court legislation largely applies to media publications – but as Tommy Robinson was broadcasting live on Facebook to the 778,280 people who like his page, and his 848,100 followers – he can be deemed a publisher in his own right.
Explaining the Contempt of Court Act, they add:
The Contempt of Court Act 1981 protects the integrity of court proceedings in the UK – it ensures defendants receive a fair trial and makes any actions that could prejudice proceedings, (i.e. publishing something that could influence a jury) an offence that carries a jail sentence of up to two years.
The Act applies to ‘active’ criminal proceedings – from the point of arrest or the issue of a arrest warrant, a court summons or an oral charge, whichever happens first.
Proceedings are no longer active upon an acquittal or sentence, a trial verdict or a charge dismissal.
During active cases, the media cannot publish anything that carries a substantial risk of serious prejudice to proceedings – this applies to broadcast reports and speeches too.
Robinson founded the English Defence League in Luton in 2009. He resigned in 2013.
Today, Robinson works for Rebel Media, a Canadian far-right online political and social commentary media website.
According to The Guardian, Rebel Media was founded by Ezra Levant, a Canadian broadcaster and political activist. Robinson presents the Tommy Robinson Show on Rebel Media.
They write on their website:
The fearless source of news, opinion, and activism that you won’t find anywhere else! TheRebel.media is different because of how you, our supporters, participate in shaping everything we do.
Through a mix of online engagement, commenting, advocacy, and events, we don’t just report the news, we participate in it.
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