Tommy Robinson to stay in jail until at least the end of July after contempt appeal hearing

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 3.42.11 am

Here's The Independent's report:

Judges are considering an attempt by English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson to be freed from prison.

The far-right leader, who is appearing under his real name of Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed in May after he broke blanket reporting restrictions on an ongoing set of trials by discussing them in a Facebook Live video.

A judge at Leeds Crown Court said Robinson admitted contempt of court and jailed him for a total of 13 months.

But his barrister told the Court of Appeal Robinson should be freed from prison and have his sentence "quashed" after arguing that criminal procedure rules had been broken.

Jeremy Dein QC argued that a judge at Leeds Crown Court should have adjourned the case to give Robinson further time with lawyers, and to respond to each allegation in detail, rather than jailing him within hours of the video being broadcast.

He also argued that the 13-month sentence handed down was "manifestly excessive" and may have been lower if a barrister was able to properly mitigate on his behalf.

The Lord Chief Justice said he and two other judges would consider the submissions and hope to come to a judgement by the end of July.


 I am indebted to Matthew Scott of whose live Tweets (which the Lord Chief Justice specifically ordered could be made from the court room) I've summarised here:

UK legal precedent in the Tommy Robinson contempt appeal - [2004] EWCA Crim 1271


Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon  (aka Tommy Robinson) is serving two separate terms of imprisonment for two separate contempts of UK courts.

He was subject to a 3 month term of imprisonment, suspended for 18 months for filming defendants in a serious criminal trial with the Judge who sentenced him saying:

There will be no conditions that need to be attached to that suspended sentence, but you should be under no illusions that if you commit any further offence of any kind, and that would include, I would have thought a further contempt of court by similar actions, then that sentence of three months would be activated, and that would be on top of anything else that you were given by any other court. In short, Mr. Yaxley-Lennon, turn up at another court, refer to people as "Muslim paedophiles, Muslim rapists" and so on and so forth while trials are ongoing and before there has been a finding by a jury that that is what they are, and you will find yourself inside. Do you understand? Thank you very much.

He did it again in May this year, he admitted the contempt, he expressed deep regret (no doubt in the belief that it would earn him a lesser sentence, he's probably right about that as you'll see below) and he was sentenced to 10 months for that second offence.

Here's what happened in a case where the brother of a defendant took mobile phone photos in court - 12 months jail.



References: [2004] EWCA Crim 1271
Coram: Lord Woolf CJ, Aikens and Fulford JJ
Ratio: The appellant was the brother of the defendant in a major drugs trial, which involved a protected witness. He took a photograph in the canteen area, and another from the public gallery facing towards the witness box, witness and bench. The quality was too low for the witness to be identified. The third photograph showed the dock, the defendant and a prison officer. The appellant denied any sinister intent; it had been done ‘in the spirit of fun’. This was dealt with by the trial judge as criminal contempt. He appealed against a sentence of 12 months imprisonment.
Held: The court had been entitled to take the view it had. Aikens J referred to the the growing and disturbing problems created by those who take illegal photographs during criminal proceedings.
Each photograph was its own contempt, and though there was no actual disruption to the trial, or evidence that any juror had been frightened, there were risks that that could have happened, and that the layout of the dock (the only secure one in Merseyside) and court could become known to the public at large.
Aikens J, set out factors in sentencing for contempt of court through taking illegal photographs with a mobile phone during a criminal trial, enumerating the risks which illegal photography could create: intimidation of juries and witnesses, even of lawyers or judges. There could be risks to police or dock officers. Such photographs could easily be passed on to others for misuse, or could come into the hands of the wrong person through the ease of publication. Relevant factors for sentencing included the potential for misuse and disruption. The potential for considerable disruption was clear. It might be that in some cases, prison would not be appropriate, such as ‘where a foreign tourist has inadvertently taken a photograph, perhaps in ignorance of English law’. The implication is that that would still be a contempt, and ‘inadvertently’ must mean ‘deliberately but not knowing of the law.’
Contempt had been made out even though there was no actual disruption to the trial or further risk of prejudice, and even though it did not appear that the judge had found that the appellant had had any intention to interfere with the administration of justice, though the photographs were obviously taken deliberately. Nor had s.41 of the CJA 1925 prevented illegal photography being a contempt of court. The illegal photography was dealt with as a contempt in the face of the court, though it had not actually disrupted court proceedings. It followed that it could be dealt with on application for committal as well. The judgment acknowledged that the risks to the due administration of justice were made graver by the ease with which photographs could be taken covertly on a mobile phone and widely disseminated privately or publicly, even from the phone itself.
Statutes: Criminal Justice Act 1925 41
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – HM Solicitor General v Cox and Another QBD (Bailii, [2016] EWHC 1241 (QB))
    Applications for committal of the defendants for having taken photographs of court proceedings when their friend was being sentenced for murder and publishing them on Facebook. The SG urged that the offences had aggravating features taking the . .


Bill "no-shame" Shorten in video on selling out workers and contractors

This bloke is shameless.  Anyone care to help remind Bill of some of his more spectacular AWU efforts on the rates-of-pay / contractors front?


Victoria Police "could" launch investigation into Andrews Govt taxpayer funding rorts

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.


I think I might push a peanut with my nose from Bourke Street to the Sydney Opera House if this gets up.

Here's The Australian with Sam Hutchinson's optimistic take on the Ashton sophistry.


Victoria Labor could face criminal investigation over Red Shirt rorts

Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Graham Ashton (R) speaks at the Victorian Parliament inquiry. Picture: David Crosling
Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Graham Ashton (R) speaks at the Victorian Parliament inquiry. Picture: David Crosling
  • The Australian

The Andrews government and Victoria Labor could be subject to a full scale criminal investigation over its misuse of MP staff allowances during the November 2014 election, according to Victoria Police’s top cop.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton today revealed his officers are still examining the Andrews government’s “Red Shirt Rorts” and will make a decision in coming weeks whether to pursue a full scale criminal investigation into the matter against Victorian Labor.

Mr Ashton appeared before a powerful parliamentary committee this afternoon, where he gave evidence about how police received a complaint in September 2015 alerting police to the potential misuse of parliamentary funds to pay Labor campaign staff during the election campaign.

Mr Ashton says police then set up “Operation Peach” - a randomly generated name - to investigate the allegations, which did not identify any criminal charges.

In early 2016, he then sought advice from a Queen’s Council lawyer on the matter, before deciding together with the police force’s own investigations there was not enough evidence to pursue a full scale investigation. However, the police reopened the investigation after Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass handed down a report finding upper house MPs had rorted $388,000 from the scheme.

Mr Ashton revealed how police fielded new complaints in the wake of the report’s publication, from Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and opposition spokesman for police Ed O’Donohue, prompting police to resume looking into the issue.

Senator (sic) Kimberley Kitching loses more than half Twitter followers


Brad Norington in The Australian today:

Senator Kitching loses more than half of followers after Twitter purge

Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has lost more than half of her Twitter followers. Picture: AAP
Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has lost more than half of her Twitter followers. Picture: AAP
  • The Australian

Victorian Labor senator and close Bill Shorten ally Kimberley Kitching has lost 14,000 Twitter followers after the social media group purged “fake user” accounts.

Twitter’s decision to delete more than half of Senator Kitching’s 26,000 followers in one hit comes amid concerns about foreign cyber interference in Australian politics similar to that which allegedly occurred in Britain and the US.

It raises doubts about Senator Kitching’s firm denial in May — when her extraordinary tally of Twitter followers for a back­bencher was first subjected to scrutiny — that her account had been infiltrated by thousands of Russian-linked “bots” or “sock puppets”.

ExportTweet found some of Senator Kitching’s followers automatically tweeted pro-Kremlin messages, and more than 20,000 had not tweeted for more than a year.