Suspect package posted to the judge who jailed Tommy Robinson
Suspect package containing a ‘white powder’ is posted to the judge who controversially jailed English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson
- Judge Geoffrey Marson QC at Leeds Crown Court received a suspicious package
- In May, the judge jailed Tommy Robinson for alleged contempt of court
- Mr Robinson was later released from prison when the Court of Appeal quashed a contempt of court finding, although a new trial is expected
- The jailing of Robinson, 35, prompted large-scale protests and threats
A suspect package containing a ‘white powder’ has been posted to the judge who controversially jailed English Defence League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson.
The package was posted to Judge Geoffrey Marson QC at Leeds Crown Court where he had jailed Robinson for 13 months in May.
It is understood to have been delivered to the general office at the court before being identified as potentially dangerous.
Emergency services scrambled to the court at 11:44am following reports of a ‘suspect item of mail’.
Tommy Robinson was jailed by the judge leading to huge protest from his followers in the UK
Police, fire and ambulance incident response units attended the building on Oxford Row in Leeds city centre.
The building was not evacuated and many of the courts continued to function as usual.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed the item has now been deemed safe.
The spokesman confirmed the incident is now being treated as a ‘malicious communications’.
The suspected package was sent to Leeds Crown Court but it was not evacuated, police confirmed
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Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed on May 25 by Judge Marson for alleged contempt of court.
He was arrested, charged and sentenced for filming people at a grooming trial in Leeds and live-streaming the footage on social media.
The trial had was the subject of a court order banning reporting or broadcasting of the proceedings to prevent prejudicing linked trials.
Right-wing protesters had claimed that the non-reporting of the trial was part of an establishment cover-up of Asian paedophile rings.
The jailing of Robinson, 35, prompted large-scale protests and threats have been directed at the judge on social media.
Robinson was released from jail in August after the Court of Appeal quashed a contempt of court finding pending a fresh trial.
Details of the Leeds trial and two other linked prosecutions were later published when reporting restrictions were lifted.
Mr Robinson was at the centre of another drama today as a group of British MPs urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to Tommy Robinson into America.
The marches for Tommy Robinson turned violent in Westminster as police tried to control the crowds
Robinson, a founder and former member of the far-Right group the English Defence League, has been invited to speak at an event in Washington later this month.
He is understood to be waiting for authorisation under the U.S.’s ESTA system before embarking on the trip, which opponents fear could open up new sources of funding for his campaigns.
A cross-party group of MPs has now written to the Trump’s administration’s Mike Pompeo, head of the U.S. State department, insisting Robinson should not be allowed to use the trip to ‘promote his violent and extremist agenda’.
Q&A: What did Tommy Robinson do wrong and why was he freed?
The far-Right activist twice tried to film Asian defendants in sensitive sex cases, while the trials were under way – in Canterbury in May last year, and in Leeds in May this year. Both judges said this was contempt of court as it could prevent a fair trial.
What is contempt of court?
Contempt, defined by a complicated series of laws, is activity that undermines a fair trial or defies the orders of a judge. It can bring a two-year jail term.
What was his punishment?
In Leeds, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC ruled that Robinson’s contempt was serious and committed him to prison for 15 months. He reduced that to ten months because Robinson admitted contempt, but added the three-month suspended term imposed by Judge Heather Norton in Canterbury.
Robinson, pictured outside London’s Old Bailey last month
Why did Judge Marson get it wrong?
The appeal judges said the judge in Leeds got one thing right – he persuaded Robinson to take his film down from Facebook. But after that things went wrong. Judge Marson acted too hastily, they said. Robinson was given no chance to admit or deny contempt. His punishment was handed down within five hours of the contempt of which he was accused. The judge showed ‘some muddle’.
What about Judge Norton?
Judge Norton made a mistake in referring to contempt as a criminal offence – as did Judge Marson.
Was his punishment too harsh?
Judge Marson’s erroneous ruling – saying that contempt was a criminal offence – had serious consequences for Robinson in prison. Wrongly classed as a convicted criminal, he lost a series of jail privileges including the right to doctors’ visits, to wear his own clothes and to have unrestricted visits.
What happens now?
The appeal judges said the finding of contempt in Leeds must be quashed, and the jail orders dropped. Robinson’s lawyers said contempt charges against him should be abandoned, but the appeal judges said Robinson might have been given a longer jail term than he received, and it was in the public interest for the charges to be properly heard.
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