Leeds judge to Tommy Robinson: 'Freedom of speech comes with responsibility'

A screengrab of the Facebook Live video taken by Tommy Robinson outside of Leeds Crown Court.
A screengrab of the Facebook Live video taken by Tommy Robinson outside of Leeds Crown Court.

THE JUDGE told Robinson that only an immediate jail term could be imposed as his actions had been so serious.

At the time of the incident, which happened last Friday, jurors were in the process of considering verdicts after hearing six weeks’ of evidence.

Read more: Tommy Robinson jailed over Facebook rant outside Leeds Crown Court

Robinson has a previous conviction for contempt of court.

He was the subject of a suspended prison sentence, imposed at Canterbury Crown Court, for committing a similar offence by filming inside a court.

Robinson has a criminal record dating back to 2005, when he was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He also has convictions for possessing drugs, threatening behavior, disobeying a court order, possessing identity documents with intent and fraud.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “No one could possibly conclude that it would be anything other than highly prejudicial to the defendants’ in the trial.

“I respect everyone’s right to free speech.

“That’s one of the most important rights that we have.

“With those rights come responsibilities. The responsibility to exercise that freedom of speech within the law.

“I am not sure you appreciate the potential consequence of what you have done.

“If the jurors in my present trial get to know of this video I will do doubt be faced with an application to discharge the jury.

“If I have to do that it will mean a re-trial, costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pounds.”

The judge said a re-trial would also mean witnesses in the case would have to face the ordeal of giving evidence again before a jury

The judge added: “You have to understand we are not preventing publication. We are postponing publication.

“When people are convicted and given long sentences it is on a proper basis and not a conviction that can be overturned.

“It is a serious feature that you were encouraging others to share what you were streaming live on social media.”

Jailing Robinson, the Judge added: “People have to understand that if they breach court orders there will be very real consequences.”