A right wing activist who intended to photograph defendants during has narrowly avoided prison.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson, of Bedfordshire, admitted contempt of court on May 8 and was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months by Judge Heather Norton.
Because of Robinson’s actions both the jury and defendants had to be hustled out of the building away from the normal front door.
Security staff told Robinson not to film within the precincts of the court and warned him he would be arrested.
‘He will be put in jeopardy if he goes to prison’
Robinson claimed he had only been working for an internet TV company for six weeks and hadn’t been taught media law .
He was looking to photograph or confront the defendants who included a juvenile which is against the Contempt of Court Act of 1925 – which makes it illegal to photograph witnesses, defendants or jurors within the court precincts.
Richard Kovaleski, defending, said Robinson had been given warnings that Al Shebab a Muslim extremist group is out to get him.
He said: “He is a marked man. This is not fanciful. He will be put in jeopardy if he goes to prison. Today could be a life changing event.”
‘I take a dim view of your actions. If you commit further offences this sentence will be activated’
Judge Norton said although Robinson only filmed himself in the court building his intention was clear.
She said: “Your intention beyond any doubt was to film the defendants but you were not able to do so.”
There are notices all over the court building prohibiting filming.
Judge Norton said: “This was a deliberate action on your part.
“Your intention was to seek out the defendants. It is abundantly clear you were on a mission to film the defendants.This is not about free speech or freedom of the press, legitimate journalism or political correctness.
“This is about justice. It is about being innocent until proven guilty.
“I find clear evidence of contempt. I take a dim view of your actions. If you commit further offences this sentence will be activated.”
She said any further contempt and Robinson would be sent to jail for three months on top of any further sentences.