Get your law books out. The Tommy Robinson saga has gone full Inception.

People taking photos of Tommy Robinson outside Old Bailey
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Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, attended a hearing at the Old Bailey over contempt of court allegations on Thursday 27 September.

Afterwards, one of his key supporters posted a video of the ex-English Defence League (EDL) leader apparently inside the court. Ever since, accusations of contempt of court during a contempt of court hearing have been flying all over the internet.

And it’s all gone a little Inception.

Legal problems

BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani was one of the first to point out potential legal problems:

And soon after, police started investigating the reports:

Under Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 (CJA 1925), it is an offence to photograph people within court precincts.

But others could also be in trouble.

Meta much?

It’s also illegal to publish videos filmed inside a court:

Not one to shy away from a legal scuffle, far-right ideologue Katie Hopkins reweeted the video:

The Canary can’t actually share her Tweet as it contains the video, but Hopkins doesn’t seem too worried about the accusations:

Katie Hopkins tweet

And the footage was reportedly shared on Yaxley-Lennon’s official Facebook page.

By Friday afternoon, it had racked up more than 300,000 views. The question is, does sharing the video count as contempt of court?

Interpreting the law

Filming inside a court can be prosecuted under The Contempt of Court Act 1981. And publishing videos filmed inside a court can also fall under the same legislation.

In fact, police originally arrested Yaxley-Lennon earlier in 2018 in Leeds for filming defendants on court premises during an ongoing trial. He is alleged to have live-streamed the footage via social media with biased comment.

It remains unclear whether the video would fall under the conditions for “interference with the administration of justice”, crucial to contempt of court legislation.

But this hasn’t stopped mainstream media outlets reporting on the issue:

Accusations fly

Yaxley-Lennon has himself accused journalists of breaking the same rules that he is now standing trial for.

But going by his supporter’s actions, it seems that the EDL founder and his entourage could do with brushing up on English law.

Otherwise we could face many more contempt of course cases. And to be honest, no one really wants the headache.

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Featured image via Thomas Wintle

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