Far right activist Tommy Robinson returns to Old Bailey court for 30-second hearing

Tommy Robinson appeared in court today
Tommy Robinson appeared in court today

The case of far-right activist Tommy Robinson returned to the Old Bailey for a 30-second hearing - without the defendant or his crowd of supporters.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC held a procedural hearing where neither the defendant - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - nor the lawyers were present.

In front of a small group of court reporters, the judge handed down a short ruling confirming he would deal with the contempt of court himself at the Old Bailey on October 23.

He said: "This is just to indicate that I'm not referring the matter of possible contempt of court by Mr Yaxley-Lennon to the Attorney General for him to consider whether or not to institute proceedings.

"I will hear the matter myself on October 23 as ordered by the Court of Appeal."

The hearing passed off uneventfully, without any disruption either inside the courtroom or on the steps of the historic building, in stark contrast to the last hearing.

The former English Defence League (EDL) leader was freed from prison in August after three leading judges quashed a contempt of court finding made at Leeds Crown Court.

But the 35-year-old could be sent back to jail if he is again found in contempt for filming people in a criminal trial in Leeds and broadcasting the footage on social media.

Last month, Robinson was ushered into court amid a large police presence as supporters, holding Union and St George's flags, chanted his name, while photographers and camera operators jostled for position.

Following the brief hearing on September 27, a video appearing to show Robinson at a window within the court building was posted on the Twitter account of Ezra Levant, a reporter for the right-wing Rebel Media organisation.

In the footage Robinson says "that's such a good feeling" before promising to go and greet the crowd of hundreds of supporters cheering and chanting outside.

The video is believed to have been made in the canteen on the second floor of the Old Bailey. By the afternoon, it had been viewed more than 160,000 times.

Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 makes it an offence to photograph people within court precincts.

City of London Police have confirmed they are looking into whether any offences were committed at the September court appearance.