Tommy Robinson supporters march on Parliament after EDL founder jailed for nine months for contempt

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HUNDREDS of furious Tommy Robinson supporters are marching outside Parliament after the EDL founder was jailed for nine months today.

Robinson called for protests after he was found to have “encouraged mob rule” when he breached a reporting restriction to live-stream a video outside a child grooming trial.

Tommy Robinson fans were furious with the sentencing as they confronted cops outside the court
Tommy Robinson fans were furious with the sentencing as they confronted cops outside the court
London News Pictures
Supporters let off smoke bombs as they waited for the verdict
Supporters let off smoke bombs as they waited for the verdict
Tommy Robinson sent a message to his followers, encouraging them to protest after he was jailed
Tommy Robinson sent a message to his followers, encouraging them to protest after he was jailed
PA:Press Association

Far-right thugs set off smoke bombs and hurled bottles at police as ugly scenes exploded outside the Old Bailey this afternoon.

Ex-EDL leader told his fans: “Sentenced to prison for journalism.

“Time for protests to start, this is an absolute joke!”

He added: “Protest outside whatever prison I’m in on Saturday please.”

As the judge’s decision filtered to Robinson’s supporters outside, they could be heard screaming “We want Tommy out” and “you know it’s wrong” as they clashed with cops.

Hundreds of far-right supporters then started an unplanned march through London’s streets towards Parliament square.

A protester and cop are locked in a stand off
A protester and cop are locked in a stand off
Alamy Live News
Police can be seen armed with batons are protesters and officers clashed
Alamy Live News
Tommy Robinson encouraged protests after the sentence was announced this morning
Tommy Robinson encouraged protests after the sentence was announced this morning
Darren Fletcher – The Sun
Men and women were seen marching through the streets after the sentencing
Hundreds of Robinson fans marched to Parliament after the sentence was delivered
Getty Images – Getty

Robinson’s sentence will see him serve about two and a half months in prison as he has already served ten weeks and he will be released on licence halfway through his jail term.

Inside court, Robinson reportedly flashed a V for Victory sign to the public gallery and smiled as the judge’s decision was handed down.

Sentencing Robinson, Dame Victoria Sharp scolded him for having “lied about a number of matters”

She said: “We are in no doubt that the custody threshold is passed in this case. The main purpose of the penalty is punishment and deterrence – and the court’s determination to uphold the rule of law.”

She said that the purpose of sentencing for contempt was “punishment and deterrence” of Robinson, adding: “The court is also concerned to demonstrate its determination to uphold the rule of law.”

Sentenced to prison for journalism. Time for protests to start, this is an absolute joke


Tommy Robinson

Last week, a two-day hearing at the Old Bailey had found the 36-year-old jeopardised the grooming trial by live-streaming men accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls on Facebook, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.

But Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, today remained defiant, arriving for today’s court appearance in a shirt reading “Convicted of Journalism” and in paint-splattered jeans.

The back of his shirt read “Britain = North Korea” while he wore a badge with the slogan “I support soldiers A-Z”.

He had been lambasted by the judge as he walked into court ten minutes late for today’s sentencing.

Robinson’s barrister Richard Furlong apologised for his late arrival, saying he had been delayed by the “number of people outside who are here to support him”.

But Dame Sharp told him “it’s not a great start”.

After deliberating for about an hour, Dame Sharp said in sentencing: “The respondent (Robinson) cannot be given credit for pleading guilty.

“He has lied about a number of matters and sought to portray himself as the victim of unfairness and oppression.

“This does not increase his sentence, but it does mean that there can be no reduction for an admission of guilt.”

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Police officers could be seen standing in the smoke
Smoke bombs were hurled during the protests
Tommy Robinson fans confronted armoured cops after the sentencing
Tommy Robinson fans confronted armoured cops after the sentencing
Getty Images – Getty
Tommy Robinson faces two years behind bars, carrying a bag into court
Tommy Robinson has been sentenced to nine months behind bars for contempt of court
PA:Press Association
Tommy Robinson supporters chanted for the EDL founder to be released after he was sentenced to time behind bars
Tommy Robinson supporters chanted for the EDL founder to be released after he was sentenced to time behind bars
PA:Press Association
Fans chanted oh Tommy as they protested his sentence
Fans chanted ‘Oh Tommy’ as they protested his sentence
Getty Images – Getty
Robinson supporters hold up an England flag in front of police
Robinson supporters hold up an England flag in front of police
Getty Images – Getty
Smoke was seen billowing in the streets as protesters marched through London
Smoke was seen billowing in the streets as protesters marched through London
Darren Fletcher – The Sun

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Two men were seen clambering onto the top of a tourist bus during the Robinson protests
Two men were seen clambering onto the top of a tourist bus during the Robinson protests
The Sun Online
The crowds chanted Tommy's name over and over again
The crowds chanted Tommy’s name over and over again
The Sun Online
A man appears to be arrested during the Robinson protests
A man appears to be arrested during the Robinson protests
London News Pictures
An impromptu march through London was sparked after the sentencing
An impromptu march through London was sparked after the sentencing
SWNS:South West News Service
Robinson's shirt had the words Britain = North Korea on the back
Robinson’s shirt had the words Britain = North Korea on the back
London News Pictures
Katie Hopkins speaks with Tommy before heading into court
Katie Hopkins speaks with Tommy before heading into court
PA:Press Association
Katie Hopkins hugs Tommy Robinson as he arrives in court
Katie Hopkins hugs Tommy Robinson as he arrives in court
SWNS:South West News Service
A Robinson fan holds up a Union Jack flag during protests
A Robinson fan holds up a Union Jack flag during protests
Getty Images – Getty
A milkshake was thrown during the melee
A milkshake was thrown during the melee
Sun Online

Several Robinson fans this morning lit flares in front of a big screen set up outside the court, with supporters then appearing to try to push police away in heated clashes.

Fans then gathered outside Westminster, yelling “shame on you”.

Dramatic footage outside court also showed supporters letting off smoke bombs and throwing drinks across the crowds.

Tensions have continued to escalate this morning with pictures showing one man being led away in an apparent arrest by cops. The majority of nearby businesses have closed off until at least this afternoon.

HEATED SCENES

City of London Police closed down surrounding roads this morning ahead of the sentencing as crowds waved flags and placards.

Supporters, including women on mobility scooters, took turns making speeches outside court, speaking on megaphones as they claimed Tommy would “die in prison”.

Robinson had previously claimed in court he would be killed in revenge attacks if he was put behind bars.

Katie Hopkins was among those to support Robinson today, pictured hugging him before he walked inside.

It comes after Robinson’s supporters faced off with cops last week when he was found guilty of committing contempt of court. 

Giving reasons for the decision on Tuesday, Dame Victoria said Robinson encouraged “vigilante action” in the video, which lasted an hour-and-a-half and was viewed online 250,000 times on the morning of the broadcast.

The judge said the words he used in the video would have been understood by viewers as “an incitement” to harass the defendants and “gave rise to a real risk the course of justice would be seriously impeded”.

Throughout the Old Bailey hearing, Robinson denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not believe he was breaching reporting restrictions and only referred to information that was already in the public domain.

But Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby found 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.

CONTEMPT DEFINED: What is contempt of court and why can you be jailed for it?

In the UK, a person can be found in contempt of court if they wilfully defy a court order.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the main types of the offence can be physically interfering in a trial, threatening witnesses or obstructing justice.

Showing disrespect to a judge can also be contempt of the court.

If someone is in contempt of the Magistrates’ Court, a person can be imprisoned for one month or face a fine of up to £2,500.

But for those in contempt of a crown court, they can be jailed for up to two years or face a fine.

In the UK, media can only report the facts of a case.

In the US, contempt of court is generally not considered to be a criminal offence.

Due to the First Amendment, the media outlet cannot be found in contempt of court.

And Robinson this week made a bizarre plea to Donald Trump to grant him asylum in the US. 

Robinson, from Luton, Bedfordshire, broadcast the footage while the jury in the second of a series of linked grooming trials was considering its verdict.

The video was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.

A reporting restriction was in place which postponed the publication of any details of the case until the end of all the trials involving 29 people, in a bid to ensure all defendants received a fair trial.

Robinson was jailed for 13 months after being found in contempt of court on the day of the broadcast.

He served two months in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.


But the case was then referred back to the Attorney General, who announced in March that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against Robinson. Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby gave permission for the Attorney General to bring a new case against Robinson at a hearing in May.

Anyone found in contempt of court can be jailed for up to two years, receive an unlimited fine, or both.

Protesters have been giving speeches using microphones to share messages of support for Robinson
Protesters have been giving speeches using microphones to share messages of support for Robinson
Reuters
Robinson took a video of himself as he walked into court
Robinson took a video of himself as he walked into court
SWNS:South West News Service
Supporters chanted Tommy's name and applauded as he walked into court
Supporters chanted Tommy’s name and applauded as he walked into court
PA:Press Association
Passionate supporters chanted outside court
Passionate supporters chanted outside court, including ‘We Want Tommy Out’
Richard Wheatstone – The Sun Online
Supporters waved signs as they waited outside the court
Supporters waved signs as they waited outside the court for Robinson’s sentencing
PA:Press Association

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