After an appeal hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London at 10:30 this morning on August 1st, the English far Right-Wing Activist Tommy Robinson was freed on bail after being jailed in May for being in contempt of court.
The origins of this offence started on the 8th of May 2017 when Robinson attended Canterbury Crown Court, during the trial of four defendants for rape.
He was found recording on the steps of the building and inside, with further intentions to film the defendants.
Notices around the building had made it clear that filming or taking photographs at court was an offence and may amount to a contempt of court, as such actions could have the effect of substantially derailing the trial.
He was arrested on May 10th 2017 and brought before Canterbury Crown Court on the 22nd, where he plead guilty, was convicted of contempt of court and given three months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.
A similar event occurred on 25th of May 2018, when Robinson was standing outside of Leeds Court House live-streaming via Facebook in what he noted as an act of journalism.
During the same time a Muslim grooming gang were on trial for their crimes. Whilst the Jury retired for deliberation, Robinson was found near the entrance used by the jurors referring to the identity of the defendants, and charges which had yet been preceded against some of the defendants.
These actions were against the Contempt of Court Act 1981, which prohibited the publication of any of the proceedings of the trial and a related trial which was yet to take place in order to prevent a miscarriage of justice.
Within five hours, he was arrested for breaching the peace, the hour long live stream was viewed over 250,000 times and Robinson was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment for being in contempt of court.
Today, a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals ruled that his conviction in Leeds was inappropriate and for procedural reasons it was wrong as Robinson had upon being arrested removed the video from Facebook which made it unjustifiable to initiate immediate court proceedings.
As a result, there was a confusion caused over the nature of contempt being considered. They did however find the decision made by Canterbury Crown Court to be correct.
UKIP leader Gerard Batten noted that the law was not fairly applied during the Leeds conviction and that he was “railroaded into jail”, as the Leeds judge “was not fair or impartial”.
Robinson’s lawyer, Carson Kaye stated that “This ruling is an example of the procedural safeguards of our system and its potential for protecting every citizen equally”.
A large group of Robinson’s supporters were found outside of the court house, many with Union Jacks, T-Shirts with the message ‘free Tommy’ and signs that said, ‘Ex-Muslims United’.
In the same vicinity, there were also anti-racism supporters with posters with messages such as ‘racist Robinson belongs in Prison’.
The contempt proceedings brought in Leeds Crown court will be re-heard at a future date.