FPI / July 11, 2019
Tommy Robinson, a journalist who has been punished in the past for shedding light on mostly-Muslim grooming gangs accused of abusing hundreds of women and young girls in the UK, has been jailed for nine months for contempt of court.
Prior to his sentencing this week, Robinson had asked U.S. President Donald Trump for asylum.
Robinson’s sentence was allegedly prompted after he filmed defendants in a criminal trial and broadcasted the footage on social media. He was previously jailed for sharing the video, taken outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.
During sentencing at The Old Bailey, Dame Victoria Sharp told Robinson: “We are in no doubt that the custody threshold is crossed in this case, in particular having regard to the common law contempt that the respondent committed. Nothing less than a custodial penalty would properly reflect the gravity of the conduct we have identified.”
In the UK, judges can ban the media from reporting on a case if there is reason to believe the reporting could prejudice a trial. The order in Robinson’s case prevented reporting until the conclusion of the trial he was covering.
Robinson’s Telegram account said: “Sentenced to prison for journalism. Time for protests to start, this is an absolute joke!”
Earlier this week, Robinson asked for political asylum from Trump.
“I feel like I’m two days away from being sentenced to death in the UK. I beg Donald Trump, I beg the American government, to look at my case. I need evacuation from this country because dark forces are at work,” Robinson said. This is a direct appeal on behalf of my family — we love the United States, I have no future here [in the UK].”
A British government spokesperson said that Robinson will be treated “like any other prisoner” after Robinson had said UK prisons are run by “jihadi gangs.”
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said: “Posting material online that breaches reporting restrictions or risks prejudicing legal proceedings is a very serious matter and this is reflected in the court’s decision today. I would urge everyone to think carefully about whether their social media posts could amount to contempt of court.”
Robinson was released on bail last August aftert the process that convicted him for contempt was deemed to be flawed by Court of Appeal judges, the Daily Star reported.
The Lord Chief Justice, one of three judges who quashed his contempt conviction, said Robinson wasn’t given enough time to muster a defense and didn’t understand the charges “muddled” against him.
In March, Cox brought fresh contempt of court proceedings against Robinson – resulting in this second conviction.
FPI, Free Press International