How Tommy Robinson’s latest legal strife started in Canterbury

Tommy Robinson being arrested

On May 8 last year a notorious figure turned up in Canterbury.

Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, stood outside the city’s Crown Court clasping a microphone accompanied by a film crew and proclaiming himself to be a reporter covering an ongoing case.

The 35-year-old had indeed arrived for a court case, a case that is now infamous in Kent legal history.

But far from being a bona fide journalist, Robinson was at the court to cause trouble.

Despite apparently having no formal journalistic training, Robinson began to report the fact that four Asian men were charged with raping a 16-year-old girl at a Thanet kebab shop.

Takeaway owner Tamim Rahmani

They included Tamim Rahmani, who lived above the Ramsgate takeaway and had operated 555 Pizza in Canterbury which used to be in Castle Street.

But far from allowing the judicial process run its course, Robinson referred to the pre-conviction defendants as “Muslim child rapists” and “Muslim paedophiles”.

Robinson also risked revealing the identity of a juvenile defendant as he attempted to film on the steps and even in the Crown Court building – an act prohibited by the law.

So concerned were police by his actions that they took the unprecedented step of ushering the defendants out of a back exit to avoid Robinson.

The quartet were subsequently convicted of the gang rape which took place in a “grubby room” and were jailed for a total of more than 50 years. Their behaviour involved some of the most depraved sexual abuse imaginable.

A fifth man was also later convicted. His name was Tommy Robinson, but he appeared at court under his real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

On May 26 of last year, he appeared before Canterbury’s leading judge Heather Norton and admitted being in contempt of court as result of his earlier visit to Canterbury.

Judge Norton told him: “This is not about free speech, not about the freedom of the Press, nor about legitimate journalism, and not about political correctness.

“It is about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly. It’s about being innocent until proven guilty.

“It is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate reporting, if that’s what it was.”

Robinson was was given a three-year jail sentence suspended for 18 months. Exactly a year on and Robinson, who quit the EDL in 2013, has been arrested again. He is alleged to have breached the peace outside Leeds Crown Court where another trial is taking place. Footage he filmed shows him saying: “Can you get me a solicitor? I’m on a suspended sentence, you see…”



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