EDL leader-turned independent journalist Tommy Robinson has been arrested in Leeds after confronting defendants outside a courthouse as they entered to face trial over sexual abuse allegations.
Robinson and his team were producing a live video for social media as several of 29 defendants accused of child sex abuse and neglect entered the courthouse.
In a video posted to social media, Robinson – a self-modeled defender of free speech – can be seen arrested by a team of police officers. He is put in the back of a police van, with officers telling him that he was being arrested for “incitement” and “breach of the peace.”
Tommy Robinson has been arrested in Leeds court for reporting on grooming gangs. More updates to follow pic.twitter.com/iEPDoNOKHM
— Caolan Robertson (@CaolanRob) May 25, 2018
RT spoke to Robinson’s producer, Caolan Robertson, about the confrontation outside of Leeds Crown Court and Robinson’s subsequent arrest.
“Their case has been going on for about a year,” Robertson said. “Tommy had all the publicly available information… and on that live stream he repeated the information that was already public. We were very careful with language [as to not risk being held in contempt of court].”
Videos already shared to social media show Robinson walking near the alleged rapists, goading them for comment. The men reacted aggressively before police intervened.
Robinson, his producer, and another member of Robinson’s media team were present at the courthouse. The trio have said that, aside from two onlookers, they were the only people present at the court.
A big police van with about seven police officers pulled up and arrested [Robinson] and told him to stop live streaming,” Robinson’s producer said. “They said it was incitement and a breach of the peace.
“No peace has been breached – there were two other people there and he’s been perfectly quiet talking into his phone. [The police] said nothing about the court proceedings. It’s very strange.”
The case in question has previously seen enraged picketing outside the courthouse, with protesters seen in April hurling and screaming abuse at defendants as they arrived at court. The case has seen 29 people charged in an inquiry into child sex abuse and neglect in Huddersfield.
The alleged offenses took place in the town between 2004 and 2011 and involved girls aged between 11 and 17. Twenty-seven men have been accused of offenses against 18 people, including rape and trafficking. Two women are charged with child neglect. In total, the 29 defendants face a total of more than 170 charges.
Robinson’s team told RT that they will now head to the police station, where they will try to find out more information about why Robinson was arrested. RT UK reached out to West Yorkshire Police for comment, but the force declined. A spokesman said that they could not comment as they “don’t identify arrested people.”
Robinson has previously been arrested for contempt of court after filming outside Canterbury Crown Court in May, for “incitement” after a protest in 2013, and was jailed for 18 months for mortgage fraud in 2014.
Latest reports indicate that Robinson has just been released from custody.