Belfast Telegraph

Protests outside court after Tommy Robinson convicted over video footage

Supporters of Tommy Robinson clash with police outside the Old Bailey
Supporters of Tommy Robinson clash with police outside the Old Bailey
Tommy Robinson

By Sian Harrison

Supporters of Tommy Robinson protested angrily after he was found in contempt of court for filming defendants in a criminal trial and broadcasting the footage on social media.

Two senior High Court judges yesterday ruled the former English Defence League (EDL) leader was in contempt over the incident last year.

Robinson filmed defendants accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls and live-streamed the footage, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not believe he was breaching any reporting restrictions and only referred to information that was already in the public domain.

But Dame Victoria Sharp, sitting at the Old Bailey with Mr Justice Warby, found him in contempt in three respects.

She said he was in contempt by breaching the reporting restriction imposed on the trial, by live-streaming the video from outside the public entrance to the court and by "aggressively confronting and filming" some of the defendants.

The judge said the content of the video "gave rise to a substantial risk that the course of justice in that case would be seriously impeded" and the confrontation of the defendants was a direct interference with the course of justice.

She added: "In our judgment, the respondent's conduct in each of those respects amounted to a serious interference with the administration of justice."

Robinson showed little reaction as the judge announced the decision.

There was a brief flare of anger from Robinson supporters in the street outside the court as news of the result filtered through. A small number marched purposefully towards the front of the court entrance, to barriers sectioning off police from the public.

The crowd, as one, then began chanting "shame on you" while pointing at the court, and beer cans were thrown at journalists.

Addressing the crowd, Robinson said the decision was wrong. He repeated claims the verdict will have a negative impact on press freedom.

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