EDL founder jailed for contempt of court after broadcasting tirade on Facebook

Geneva Stokes
June 1, 2018

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, streamed an hour-long Facebook stream outside the court last Friday.

He showed up with his cameraman again Friday - this time outside a restricted child-sex-abuse trial at Leeds Crown Court, for what he inaccurately announced was the verdict.

The video had been watched more than 250,000 times within hours of recording.

Robinson, founder of the English Defence League - which he left in 2013 citing concerns over the "dangers of far-right extremism" - is a self-styled journalist and commentator who issues a steady stream of anti-Muslim statements online.

His barrister, Matthew Harding, said Robinson now felt "deep regret" after realising the potential consequences of his actions.

Robinson had originally arrived at the courthouse to cover the court cases of Muslims charged with raping young women and forcing them to serve as prostitutes.

Contempt of court is the crime of ignoring the court and its constitutional role in making sure that justice is done.

In her sentencing remarks in the case against Robinson a year ago, Judge Heather Norton said: "This contempt hearing is not about free speech".

A spokesman for The Independent said: "After Robinson's arrest was broadcast live on social media and his assistants reported his imprisonment, the reporting restriction was effectively made redundant".

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He named the defendants, as well as details of the allegations against them - risking the entire case going under and thousands of pounds in taxpayer money being wasted.

Another court order preventing reporting of Robinson's arrest and the subsequent court proceedings was lifted on Tuesday after a challenge by Leeds Live and the Independent.

Supporters of Mr. Robinson, however, have argued it is not clear how his actions are different from other journalists, and specifically how they have prejudiced the case. It could never happen here, as America's liberals are far too tolerant and too devoted to free speech.

Addressing Robinson, Judge Marson said: "I am not sure you appreciate the potential outcome of what you have done". "If the jurors in my present trial get to know of this video, I will no doubt be faced with an application to discharge the jury".

Robinson is no stranger to prison and has a criminal record dating back to 2005.

The restrictions were ridiculed online, as details of the case were easily available on social media and some US outlets, with many prominent figures sharing details and the hashtag #FreeTommy trending on Twitter.

Robinson was convicted of contempt for interfering with a trial in Canterbury. Robinson had been arrested multiple times before last week, for crimes including fraud and assault, according to Leeds Live, and Twitter has permanently banned him for claiming that Islam is murderous.

Further details about Robinson's status were not known as a judge ordered media to not report on the incident, according to published reports.

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