Tag Archives: Canterbury

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.

Kent Live

A Britain First activist arrested during clashes with anti-Ukip protestors has admitted assaulting a demonstrator.

Mandy Smith, from Canterbury, is said to have retaliated after a camera was reportedly pointed at her face at the party’s spring conference at Margate’s Winter Gardens.

The 50-year-old was part of a group of activists who gathered outside the venue after declaring on Facebook they were “defending Nigel Farage from the leftwing rabble”.

The incident happened after demonstrators – led by Thanet Stand up to Ukip – marched up the hill to protest at the conference on Saturday.

Britain First posted on its Facebook page that Mandy Smith had been arrested.

It added fellow activists had “invaded” the police station to “support her” and later posted: “A big well done to Mandy and the other south east activists who defended the Ukip meeting yesterday.

“Freedom of speech will prevail.”

Britain First leader Paul Golding also posted support for Smith, later saying she was wrongfully arrested after pushing a camera away from her face.

Smith was dealt with by a method called restorative practice, in which she gave the victim – who suffered no injuries – a verbal apology.

For the method to be used, offenders must admit the offence, but they are not left with a criminal conviction.

Police spokesman Lisa Humphrys said: “A 50-year-old woman from Canterbury, who was arrested in Margate on suspicion of assault has been dealt with by way of restorative practice in liaison with the victim.

“Apart from this one incident, there have not been any physical confrontations and the protest was generally conducted peacefully.

“As with all such events, the primary role of Kent Police is to work with the partners to facilitate peaceful protest while ensuring public safety.”

Kent Online

A far-right activist who photographed a suspected rioter in a court corridor has been jailed for three weeks.

Amanda Smith, 52, snapped the defendant as he appeared at Canterbury Crown Court accused of violent disorder at the Dover riots.

Her lawyer, Kerry Waitt, attempted to claim Smith was a court reporter, having attended many of the riot hearings.

But Judge Adele Williams told Mr Waitt: “I don’t think you can compare this defendant and her activities to our very well-respected court reporter from the Kentish Gazette.”

Smith, of Shipman Avenue, Canterbury, was spotted by security staff taking the picture as others posed for it outside Court 6.

She has now been jailed for 21 days after admitting being in contempt of court.

The mum of two was told by the judge: “Your conduct was wholly unacceptable – especially taking a picture of someone waiting to be dealt with for violent disorder.”

It has been an offence for 91 years to take photographs in and around courts in England and Wales and is regarded as a common law contempt, attracting jail sentences.

Mr Waitt said Smith was “not present at what has now become known as the Dover Riots but she has an association with the South-East Alliance”, regarded as a far-right group.

He added: “This is a group which shares views on politics and immigration and other topical matters. They communicate with each other in chatrooms.

“And as she lives near to the court and it being school holidays she was encouraged by others and agreed to come to the court to report to families of those who were in court.”

He told Canterbury Crown Court that Smith worked at a “local education establishment” and now “bitterly regrets allowing herself to become involved” in taking the photograph.

“She was invited to take a photograph and didn’t apply her mind to what she was doing,” he said.

“She is now contrite and has learned her lesson.”

Judge Williams said security staff were aware that Smith had attended many of the hearings involving those alleged to have taken part in the riots in Dover in January.

Kent Online