LONDON (AP) — A judge on Tuesday referred a contempt-of-court case involving far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to Britain’s attorney general for consideration.
Yaxley-Lennon, who uses the pseudonym Tommy Robinson, was arrested in May for potentially prejudicing a trial by broadcasting live on Facebook outside the trial of men accused of sexually abusing teenage girls, in violation of judge-imposed reporting restrictions.
His broadcast risked scuttling the prosecution, one of three linked trials in which 20 men were eventually convicted of raping and abusing more than a dozen girls in a northern England town.
Yaxley-Lennon, who had a previous suspended sentence for contempt of court, was jailed. A court later freed him, citing procedural issues, and said the whole case needed to be looked at again.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard said Tuesday that “the nature and extent of the controversies” meant the case was too complex for him to hear alone.
“I think it necessary to look at quite a lot of the detail of what Mr. Yaxley-Lennon said in the broadcast as to come to the overall picture as to what happened,” the judge said.
Yaxley-Lennon was released on bail.
The 35-year-old activist, who founded the anti-Islam English Defense League, claims he is exposing “Muslim rape gangs” ignored by the media. He has built a large online following with links to international white nationalist and far-right movements.
He told hundreds of cheering supporters as he entered Old Bailey courthouse that “no matter what happens today, I’ve already won” because “the entire world is now watching.”
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