Supporters of jailed British far-right activist Tommy Robinson clash with police

Tommy Robinson

British far-right activist Tommy Robinson was sentenced again to prison Thursday after being found in contempt of court, sparking clashes between police and his supporters in London.

Scores of Robinson's supporters had gathered outside the court on Thursday, chanting his name and waving flags.

Robinson had instructed his lawyer "to read out a series of past Contempt of Court findings against newspapers which (in summary) had not led to jail terms for editors or reporters accused of disrupting trials", according to BBC reporter Dominic Casciani, but to no avail, with judges imposing a custodial term only one month shorter than his previous sentence, declaring that "the main objective of the penalty is punishment and deterrence". Some pelted police with bottles and cans and officers donned their helmets.

Sentencing Robinson at the Old Bailey in London on Thursday, Judge Dame Victoria Sharp told him: "You will be committed in prison for a period of 19 weeks".

However, the judge said his conduct amounted to a "serious contempt" and involved "reckless disobedience" of an important court order, imposed to protect a trial and a later linked trial.

The judges also rejected claims by Yaxley-Lennon that he had made checks in the court about reporting restrictions.

Giving reasons for the decision 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, 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.

The video was eventually viewed 3.4 million times after being shared following his arrest.

Reporting restrictions postponed the publication of any details until the end of all the cases, in a bid to ensure all defendants received a fair trial.

"By aggressively confronting and filming some of the defendants in that case as they arrived at court, he interfered with the course of justice", the British Attorney General's Office said a statement announcing the 9-month sentence Thursday.

He was originally sentenced to 13 months in jail last summer, but he only served two months after the contempt finding was overturned and he was released.

His case was referred back to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox who launched new proceedings in March, arguing it was in the public's interest.

Robinson has 28 days to appeal against his conviction.

Robinson was wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words "convicted of journalism", a badge reading "I support soldiers A-Z" and blue jeans as he entered the building.



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