LONDON – Jailed British rights activist Tommy Robinson, was released on bail on Wednesday after winning an appeal against a contempt of court ruling.
Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League (EDL) which in the past has staged violent demonstrations against Islam, was arrested in May for making video recordings outside a courthouse which revealed the identities of defendants while jurors were considering their verdicts in an ongoing trial.
Later that day, Robinson, 35, was jailed for 13 months.
An Appeal Court judges on Wednesday ruled that the court process against Robinson in Leeds was flawed as the proceedings were completed too quickly, and that no details of the case against him were put to Robinson. He was sentenced within five hours of recording a Facebook Live about the trial.
“Once the appellant had removed the video from Facebook, there was no longer sufficient urgency to justify immediate proceedings,” judge Ian Burnett wrote in his ruling.
“No particulars of the contempt were formulated nor put to the appellant.”
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, will be released from custody pending a rehearing, a date for which has yet to be set.
Robinson’s supporters in court clapped when his release was announced. Outside, police kept apart dozens more of them from “Stand up to Racism” activists who were protesting against his release.
The ruling against Robinson in Leeds came after he had earlier in May been handed a suspended sentence for attempting to film defendants at Canterbury Crown Court during a rape trial, actions which the judge said could have derailed the trial.
The judges on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by Robinson against the Canterbury ruling.
By Alistair Smout and Sarah Young – Reuters