Tommy Robinson has been re-sentenced to nine months in prison following his reconviction for contempt of court.
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 purpose of the penalty is punishment and deterrence”.
Robinson was initially arrested, tried, and imprisoned within a matter of hours after livestreaming accused grooming gang members — later convicted — whose case was subject to reporting restrictions, but freed by appellate judges who ruled his initial hearing had been rushed and unfair.
Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox was given leave to relitigate the case, however, which he chose to do — resulting in Robinson being reconvicted, despite his defence team’s arguments that his behaviour was “not materially different to the behaviour we see outside courts day in and day” from mainstream media reporters.
The sentencing comes days after Mr Robinson appealed to U.S. president Donald Trump to grant him political asylum.
The activist has said the sentence following his previous, overturned convcition saw him “imprisoned for over 2.5 months in solitary confinement, held against my categorisation, moved to the highest Muslim population Category C prison, subjected to mental torture and constant threats and abuse and had all of my rights removed in the interest of prison safety”, and he believes his treatment by the courts and the state more generally is “political persecution”.
The nine months comprises six months for Robinson’s actions outside Leeds Crown Court, and the activation of a separate three-month suspended sentence for similar actions at Canterbury Crown Court.
Time served will be discounted, however, meaning Robinson should eligible for automatic release on licence after roughly two months.