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Canterbury: Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has been jailed for contempt of court, which was in breach of a suspended jail sentence handed to him in Canterbury.

The founder of the far-right English Defence League, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was given an ear bashing on British law by a judge after entering Canterbury Crown Court last May, where four men were on trial for gang rape.

He received a three-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months on the condition he did not commit any more offences.

Tommy Robinson outside Canterbury Crown Court
Tommy Robinson outside Canterbury Crown Court

But on Friday, he was arrested on suspicion of breaching the peace at Leeds Crown Court, where he had been broadcasting a live video on Facebook.

He has since been sent to prison for 13 months after a judge ruled his actions risked the collapse of a trial.

It comes a year after the 35-year-old carried out filming on the court steps in Canterbury and inside the building. Both film pieces were published on the internet under a heading which read: ‘Tommy Robinson in Canterbury exposing child rapists. Police help them escape’.

He also referred to the defendants as ‘Muslim child rapists’ and ‘Muslim paedophiles’.

Robinson admitted he had come to the court to film the defendants, but was foiled by “the good offices of the court’s security staff” who had alerted the judge.

Judge Heather Norton (1160641)
Judge Heather Norton (1160641)

Canterbury's top Judge Heather Norton didn't mince her words as she told Yaxley-Lennon: "This is not about free speech... not about the freedom of the Press, nor about legitimate journalism, and not about political correctness.

“It is about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly..it’s about being innocent until proven guilty.

“It is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated..or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate "reporting", if that’s what it was.”

The high-profile trial continued and the men were sentenced to a total of 49 years for their attack on a vulnerable 16-year-old.

The court heard how the girl, who was drunk, had asked the men for directions. But instead of helping her she was taken to a room above a kebab and pizza restaurant in Ramsgate in September and subjected to "a prolonged ordeal of degradation and humiliation".

Prosecutor Simon Taylor revealed that after pushing the girl onto a mattress, they carried out multiple rapes “and laughed as they put her through the ordeal”.

Shershah Muslimyar, 21, of Hovenden Close, Canterbury, restaurant owner Tamin Rahmani, 38, of Northwood Road, Ramsgate and Rafiullah Hamidy, 24, formerly of High Street, Herne Bay, were each jailed for 14 years.

A 17-year-old from Ashford, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was ordered to be detained for seven years.

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