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EDL founder Tommy Robinson is jailed for 13 months

Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months after being held in contempt of court for a Facebook Live video he filmed outside a court, it can be reported for the first time today. 

Robinson, 35, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, was held after he live-streamed himself speaking on the steps of Leeds Crown Court last Friday.

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The hour-long film, which has been watched more than 250,000 times, shows the extraordinary moment he was arrested by police.

The English Defence League founder was then taken before a judge who then jailed him for 13 months after Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court and breaching the terms of a suspended sentence for a similar offence.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told him his actions may cause the retrial of a long-running trial, costing taxpayers ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

MailOnline has been able to report his prison sentence for the first time after an order banning any publication of his case was lifted.

Tommy Robinson streamed an hour-long Facebook Live outside Leeds Crown Court and was later arrested on Friday (pictured)

Robinson was arrested, charged and sentenced within five hours at Leeds Crown Court where he admitted contempt of court and breaching the terms of his suspended sentence for a similar offence

Robinson was arrested, charged and sentenced within five hours at Leeds Crown Court where he admitted contempt of court and breaching the terms of his suspended sentence for a similar offence

Robinson was outside Leeds Crown Court while jurors were in the process of considering verdicts in a trial. 

Extraordinary footage shown shows Robinson being arrested during his Facebook Live broadcast, which was shown to the judge.

Robinson was live outside Leeds Crown Court while jurors were in the process of considering verdicts in a trial

Robinson was live outside Leeds Crown Court while jurors were in the process of considering verdicts in a trial

The officers ask him to give them his phone and the right-wing activist says: ‘What for?’ He is then told: ‘For breach of the peace.

His supporters exclaim: ‘Are you arresting him?’ and as he is led away he shouts:  ‘Can you get me a solicitor? I’m on a suspended sentence, you see.”

Before he is put in a police van an officer reads him his rights and repeats: ‘You are being arrested on suspicion of causing a breach of the peace’.

He was then was held in the court cells before being taken up to the courtroom to face the trial judge where he pleaded guilty to contempt of court and breach of a suspended sentence.

He was jailed for 13 months. 

Matthew Harding, defending, said his client felt ‘deep regret’ after realising the potential consequences of his actions.

He said Robinson thought what he was saying on camera was already in the public domain.

The barrister added: ‘He was mindful, having spoken to others and taken advice, not to say things that he thought would actually prejudice these proceedings. He did not try to cause difficulties for the court process.’

Mr Harding said Robinson had been the victim of assaults while serving time in prison before and there had been ‘a price on his head’ during his last prison term with inmates being offered the reward of drugs and mobile phones to kill him.

But Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: ‘No one could possibly conclude that it would be anything other than highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trial. I respect everyone’s right to free speech. That’s one of the most important rights that we have.

‘With those rights come responsibilities. The responsibility to exercise that freedom of speech within the law. I am not sure you appreciate the potential consequence 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. If I have to do that it will mean a re-trial, costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pounds.’

#FreeTommy signs were waved by protesters who called for the EDL founder's release on Whitehall on Saturday

#FreeTommy signs were waved by protesters who called for the EDL founder’s release on Whitehall on Saturday

Another far-right activist is pictured climbing the gates that block off Downing Street 

One supporter is pictured scaling the gates of Downing Street. Met Police said there were no arrests made during the protest 

Supporters were pictured climbing the gates that block off Downing Street but there were no arrests 

A re-trial would also mean witnesses in the case would have to face the ordeal of giving evidence again before a jury.

Pictured: Robinson founded the English Defence League in Luton in 2009 and remains a far-right activist despite quitting the EDL

Pictured: Robinson founded the English Defence League in Luton in 2009 and remains a far-right activist despite quitting the EDL

The judge added: ‘You have to understand we are not preventing publication. We are postponing publication to ensure that the trial is fair. 

‘It is a serious feature that you were encouraging others to share what you were streaming live on social media.’

Jailing the married father-of-three, the judge said: ‘People have to understand that if they breach court orders there will be very real consequences.’ 

In a rare move, he was arrested, charged and sentenced within five hours. The video footage was played to as Robinson sat in the dock.

The judge said: ‘He referred to the charges that the defendants faced and some charges which are not proceeded against in relation to some defendants.’

Robinson has a previous conviction for contempt of court.

He was the subject of a suspended prison sentence, imposed at Canterbury Crown Court, for committing a similar offence by filming inside a court.

Robinson has a criminal record dating back to 2005, when he was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He also has convictions for possessing drugs, threatening behaviour, disobeying a court order, possessing identity documents with intent and fraud.

Robinson, a married father-of-three, founded the English Defence League in Luton in 2009 before resigning in 2013.

The organisation was responsible for violent marches on the streets where members clashed with police and counter-demonstrators.   

 

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