Facist public figure “Tommy Robinson” received a nine-month prison sentence today after being found guilty of obstructing justice.
A High Court judge said Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who arrived late to the hearing, has been sentenced to nine months reduced to 19 weeks behind bars reflecting time he has already served in jail, of which he will serve half before being released.
Passing the sentence, Dame Victoria Sharp said: “The respondent cannot be given credit for pleading guilty. He has lied about a number of matters and sought to portray himself as the victim of unfairness and oppression.”
Activists from Stand Up to Racism (SUtR) gathered outside the Old Bailey in London to stand against the so-called “freedom of speech” preacher’s crowd of supporters and to stress the importance of continuing opposition to his divisive politics of hate.
Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s supporters began protesting following the decision, clashing with police and physically attacking reporters on the scene.
Ant-racism campaigners warned that Mr Yaxley-Lennon has increasingly been a central figure of the Islamophobic far-right in recent years, organising thugs to stir up racial and religious hatred.
The former English Defence League (EDL) leader begged the US president Donald Trump last week for political asylum, in contradiction to his anti-migrant beliefs.
SUtR national organiser Julie Sherry said said it was good news that “this Nazi is going down” and will not be on streets or targeting communities for weeks, but said the sentencing was too short.
She said: “It’s good that he has another blow inflicted to his poisonous agenda of hate. It’s good because he tried despicably to cynically exploit a very serious issue, and masquerade as some champion of women’s rights when in reality he doesn’t care about victims of sexual violence.
“In fact, he propagates deeply sexist views, has a history of domestic violence and has ignored abuse in the far right movements and organisations he has led.
“We need to redouble our efforts to build a mass anti-racist movement that can continue to oppose the likes of Robinson, as well as the growth of populist right-wing politics from Trump to Farage to Johnson.”
Mr Yaxley-Lennon was found to be in contempt of court last week for filming outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018 and provoking men on trial for grooming children.
He broadcast the footage while the jury 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.
Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles said: “Stephen Lennon put at risk the trial of men accused of horrendous crimes with his livestreaming antics. He doesn’t care about the victims of grooming, he only cares about himself. He now faces yet another stint behind bars.
“So far this year, he’s been humiliated at the ballot box, kicked off social media platforms for hate speech, jailed for contempt, and it’s only July.”
The Society of Editors responded to Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s claim that he was “convicted of journalism,” saying it was a “dangerous distortion of the truth.”