Tommy Robinson supporters attack BBC crew live on air outside Parliament

Tommy Robinson supporters attack BBC crew live on air outside Parliament

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Supporters of far-right extremist Tommy Robinson attacked a BBC camera crew outside Parliament today amid violent protests after the English Defence League founder was jailed for contempt of court.

An angry crowd marched to Westminster from the Royal Courts of Justice after Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sentenced to nine months in prison.

They blocked the road outside the Houses of Parliament, chanting “we want Tommy out”, and “Soubry is a Nazi” – a reference to Remain-backing Independent MP Anna Soubry. The crowd marched towards college green, where some supporters tore down and burned EU flags.

A number of supporters then rushed towards a BBC camera crew who were broadcasting live outside the Palace.


 

The broadcasters were filming presenter Peter Saull live on the BBC One O’Clock News at the time.

Police moved in as a number of men shouted “shame on you” at the broadcasters and knocked over lighting equipment.

Shortly after, the crowd began chanting “paedo protectors” at police officers, and “we want our country back.”

 

The crowd later marched towards the Attorney General’s office, near Westminster Abbey.

At least two men were later arrested as police formed a barrier between protesters and the offices.

The English Defence League (EDL) founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was handed a nine-month sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Dame Victoria Sharp told Robinson that the time he previously spent behind bars for the contempt will be taken into account, reducing his sentence to 19 weeks – of which he will serve half before being released.

Robinson, 36, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was found to have committed contempt of court on Friday, following a two-day High Court hearing held at the Old Bailey.

Dame Victoria and Mr Justice Warby found Robinson was in contempt in three respects when he filmed men accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls and live-streamed the footage on Facebook , in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.


Giving reasons for the contempt finding 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.

Throughout the Old Bailey hearing last Thursday and Friday, 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.

A supporter being detained by police outside the Attorney General’s office

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Robinson 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 10 weeks in jail before being freed after the original finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.




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