TOMMY Robinson has today been jailed for nine months after being found guilty of contempt for live-streaming a video outside a child grooming trial.
Supporters booed as the the EDL founder’s sentence was handed down after he was found to have “encouraged mob rule” when he breached a reporting restriction over the case.
Robinson’s sentence will see him serve about two month and a half months in prison on time as he has already served ten weeks and he will be released on licence halfway through his jail term.
As the judge’s decision filtered to Robinson’s supporters outside, they could be heard screaming “We want Tommy out” and “you know it’s wrong”.
The furious supporters could be seen in a stand off with heavily armoured cops as Robinson wrote on his Telegram account: “Sentenced to prison for journalism. Time for protests to start, this is an absolute joke!”
He added: “Protest outside whatever prison I’m in on Saturday please.”
Inside court, Robinson reportedly flashed a V for Victory sign to the public gallery and smiled.
Sentencing Robinson, Dame Victoria Sharp told him: “We are in no doubt that the custody threshold is passed in this case. The main purpose of the penalty is punishment and deterrence – and the court’s determination to uphold the rule of law.”
She said that the purpose of sentencing for contempt was “punishment and deterrence of the contemnor”, adding: “The court is also concerned to demonstrate its determination to uphold the rule of law.”
Last week, a two-day hearing at the Old Bailey had found the 36-year-old jeopardised the grooming trial by live-streaming men accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls on Facebook, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.
But Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, today remained defiant, arriving for today’s court appearance in a shirt reading “Convicted of Journalism”.
The back of his shirt read “Britain = North Korea” while he wore a badge with the slogan “I support soldiers A-Z”.
He had been lambasted by the judge as he walked into court ten minutes late for today’s sentencing.
Robinson’s barrister apologised for his late arrival, with Dame Sharp telling him “it’s not a great start”.
Several Robinson fans this morning lit flares in front of a big screen set up outside the court, with supporters then appearing to try to push police away in heated clashes.
Dramatic footage outside court also showed supporters letting off smoke bombs and throwing drinks across the crowds.
Tensions have continued to escalate this morning with pictures showing one man being led away in an apparent arrest by cops. The majority of nearby businesses have closed off until at least this afternoon.
City of London Police closed down surrounding roads this morning ahead of the sentencing as crowds waved flags and placards.
Supporters, including women on mobility scooters, took turns making speeches outside court, speaking on megaphones as they claimed Tommy would “die in prison”.
Robinson had previously claimed in court he would be killed in revenge attacks if he was put behind bars.
Katie Hopkins was among those to support Robinson today, pictured hugging him before he walked inside.
It comes after Robinson’s supporters faced off with cops last week when he was found guilty of committing contempt of court.
Giving reasons for the decision on Tuesday, Dame Victoria said Robinson encouraged “vigilante action” in the video, which lasted an hour-and-a-half and was viewed online 250,000 times on the morning of the broadcast.
The judge said the words he used in the video would have been understood by viewers as “an incitement” to harass the defendants and “gave rise to a real risk the course of justice would be seriously impeded”.
Throughout the Old Bailey hearing, Robinson denied any wrongdoing, saying he did not believe he was breaching reporting restrictions and only referred to information that was already in the public domain.
But Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby found he was in contempt by breaching the reporting restriction imposed on the trial, by live-streaming the video from outside the public entrance to the court and by “aggressively confronting and filming” some of the defendants.
And Robinson this week made a bizarre plea to Donald Trump to grant him asylum in the US.
Robinson, from Luton, Bedfordshire, broadcast the footage while the jury in the second of a series of linked grooming trials was considering its verdict.
The video was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.
A reporting restriction was in place which postponed the publication of any details of the case until the end of all the trials involving 29 people, in a bid to ensure all defendants received a fair trial.
Robinson was jailed for 13 months after being found in contempt of court on the day of the broadcast.
He served two months in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.
But the case was then referred back to the Attorney General, who announced in March that it was in the public interest to bring fresh proceedings against Robinson. Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby gave permission for the Attorney General to bring a new case against Robinson at a hearing in May.
Anyone found in contempt of court can be jailed for up to two years, receive an unlimited fine, or both.