Monday 22 October 2018

Yaxley-Lennon retrial / Case now referred to Attorney-General + Convictions at Leeds

On Tuesday 23 October, Mr Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka "Tommy Robinson") attended at the Central Criminal Court ("the Old Bailey") for his trial for contempt of court - see The Guardian 16 October and Daily Mail 21 October.  The trial was listed before the Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC.

This new trial was ordered by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) on 18 July 2018 when Mr Robinson's  conviction at Leeds Crown Court for contempt was quashed - previous post 1st August 2018 and also see previous posts 1 June 2018 and 5 July 2018.  By the date of the Court of Appeal hearing on 18 July, Mr Robinson had been in prison from 25 May - some 55 days.

On 25 May, as defendants arrived for the Crown Court sitting at Leeds, Mr Robinson "live streamed" from outside the court building.  This action was held to be in breach of reporting restrictions applied by the trial judge to a series of three linked trials of men accused of serious sexual offences in the period 2004 to 2011.  The reporting restrictions was to protect the integrity of the subsequent trials, the fairness of which would be prejudiced by contemporary reporting of the earlier trials.

Those linked trials have now been completed and reporting restrictions lifted. 

The Examiner (19 October) reported the outcome of the trials.  In the first trial (held January to April) 8 men were convicted of various offences and 2 were acquitted.  The second trial (April to June) saw a further 8 men convicted.  At trial 3 (September to October), 4 men convicted.  Charges were discontinued against other men.  The majority of the defendants have now been sentenced but sentencing of 4 men is to take place on 1 November.

The trial Judge - His Honour Judge Marson QC - said -

Operation Tendersea - West Yorkshire Police.

23 October - Update re Tommy Robinson:

Counsel for Mr Robinson submitted that the case should be referred to the Attorney-General who is able to bring proceedings.  At such proceedings witnesses could be called.  The judge adjourned the case on that basis.  Mr Robinson remains on bail for the time being.

The Attorney-General will have to decide where the public interest lies.  Does it favour further proceedings?  If there are to be further proceedings then they would take place in the High Court.  In deciding on the public interest, the Attorney does not act as a government Minister.

A previous recent contempt case and brought by the A-G was that of Joanna Fraill which I blogged about HERE back in 2011.  That case was heard in the High Court.

The Guardian 23 October 2018

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