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Tommy Robinson: Far-right activist jailed for live broadcasting outside sex grooming trial

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Far right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson on November 6, 2018.
Far right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson on November 6, 2018. -
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British far-right activist Tommy Robinson — real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — has been sentenced to nine months in jail over live broadcasting outside a rape trial last year.

Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League, received his sentence on Thursday after being found guilty of contempt of court earlier this month.

It relates to a Facebook Live broadcast he made outside the trial of a sexual grooming gang at Leeds Crown Court in May 2018 for which reporting restrictions had been put in place to ensure the 29 defendants were given a fair trial.

He was given a six-month prison sentence for the Leeds offence and a further three months for an earlier contempt.

Robinson, 36, was originally sentenced to 13 months in jail but was released two months later after an appeal.

His case was referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox who launched new proceedings in March, arguing it was in the public's interest.

The judges at the Old Bailey court in central London said his Facebook Live video had encouraged "vigilante action" and that it breached the reporting restrictions with Robinson "aggressively confronting and filming" some fo the defendants.

Robinson and his lawyer, Richard Furlong, have argued however that he had only provided information that was already in the public domain.

Cox welcomed the sentencing in a statement.

"Posting material online that breaches reporting restrictions or risks prejudicing legal proceedings has consequences, and I would urge everyone to think carefully about whether their social media posts could amount to contempt of court," he said.

Dame Victoria Sharp said Robinson's previous time in jail had been taken into consideration, reducing his sentence to 19 weeks — of which he will serve half before being released.

In a video shared by his supporters online after his sentencing, he which he wore a black shirt emblazoned with "convicted for journalism", Robinson called on his supporter to protest.

"Hopefully by this Saturday, while I'm laying there in my cell I can just hear all your voices," he said.