Tommy Robinson supporter jailed for part in 'terrifying' protest violence
A BURTON man who was part of “terrifying disorder” wreaked by supporters of right-wing activist Tommy Robinson in London has been jailed for 18 months.
James Thomas (28), of Priory View Road, was sent down at Southwark Crown Court for admitting his part in violent scenes that broke out during a rally in Whitehall on 9th June 2018.
Thomas was one of 14 men arrested by the Metropolitan Police and prosecuted for getting involved in the incident. Between them the group members were jailed for almost a combined 18 years.
The court heard trouble erupted at a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ demonstration with scaffolding, glass bottles and street furniture, such as heavy barriers, thrown at police.
More than 20 officers suffered injuries, with disruption caused to members of the public, businesses and the local community.
Subsequently the Met launched Operation Augusta to bring those involved to justice. The man who led the operation, DS Matt Hearing, was pleased with the court result.
“This investigation proved extremely challenging with hundreds of hours of CCTV, video and body-worn video to examine,” he said.
“However, such was the weight of evidence brought against those charged, that all pleaded guilty.
“Peaceful protest plays an important role in our society. However, the actions of some involved in this demonstration showed a contempt both for the law and the police.
“Officers that day were there to ensure the safety of all those taking part, yet were met with abuse and violence.”
Robert Hutchinson, prosecutor from the London Crown Prosecution Services’s complex casework unit, added: “The terrifying disorder wreaked by these individuals in the heart of London in June 2018, was inexcusable.
“Protestors set out to intimidate and hurt police, injuring more than 20 officers who were protecting the public and tourists in central London on the day of Trooping of the Colour, and who should have been able to go about their duties without fear of violence.
“The sentences passed should serve as a warning that those who direct violence towards police and act in this way will face prosecution and potentially prison.”
Robinson’s real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. He co-founded and formerly led the English Defence League and has also served as a political advisor to former UKIP leader Gerard Batten.
The demo was prompted by the 36-year-old being sent to jail in relation to live-streaming a video on Facebook that featured defendants in a criminal trial and breached a court reporting ban.
Most recently he served a total of nine-and-a-half weeks in jail before he was released in mid-September.