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High Court judges hear latest stage of Tommy Robinson contempt case

The former English Defence League leader faces an allegation he committed contempt of court by filming people involved in a criminal trial.

Tommy Robinson could be sent back to jail if he is again found in contempt (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Tommy Robinson could be sent back to jail if he is again found in contempt (Jonathan Brady/PA)

High Court judges will hear the latest stage of a case against Tommy Robinson over an allegation he committed contempt of court by filming people in a criminal trial and broadcasting footage on social media.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC announced earlier this month that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against the former English Defence League (EDL) leader, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

The first hearing in the new case will take place before two High Court judges at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

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Police get in between demonstrators outside court (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The hearing was due to take place in March but was postponed following a request by Robinson’s lawyers.

Robinson was jailed for 13 months in May last year after he filmed people involved in a criminal trial at Leeds Crown Court and broadcast the footage on social media.

The footage, lasting around an hour and a half, was watched 250,000 times within hours of being posted on Facebook.

It was filmed during one of a series of trials of a Huddersfield grooming gang, which was covered by strict reporting restrictions banning publication of any details until the end of the final one in September last year.

But a contempt finding made against Robinson was quashed by the Court of Appeal in August and he was freed from prison after serving two months of his sentence.

Recorder of London Nicholas Hilliard QC was due to hear the case at the Old Bailey, but referred the case to the Attorney General in October after receiving a statement from Robinson.

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Demonstrations against Tommy Robinson outside the Royal Courts of Justice (John Stillwell/PA)

The 36-year-old, from Luton, could be sent back to jail if he is again found in contempt, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.

Robinson, who is standing for election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the North West Region in the European elections later this month, has previously vowed to contest the Attorney General’s decision.

Crowds of supporters gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey for the previous hearings and Robinson made an address at the October hearing.

A statement from the Attorney General’s office on March 7 said Mr Cox had reached his decision based on an assessment of the evidence and whether it was in the “wider public interest”.

Mr Cox said: “After carefully considering the details of this case, I have concluded there are strong grounds to bring fresh contempt of court proceedings against Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson).

“As proceedings are now under way, it would not be appropriate to comment further and I remind everyone that it is an offence to comment on live court cases.”

PA

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