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Tommy Robinson denies refusing to leave antisemitism march

Tommy Robinson has denied a criminal offence after he allegedly refused to leave a march against antisemitism.

The far-right figure, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday accused of breaching a police dispersal order.

The 40-year-old wore a blue shirt and a grey waistcoat. He spoke only to confirm his identity and denied breaching a section 35 direction excluding him from an area.

District Judge Briony Clarke set a trial date for 22 April at City of London Magistrates’ Court.

Under his bail conditions, he is not allowed to enter London within the M25. He is also banned from organising or attending any protests.

Alistair Williamson KC, defending, made an application to prevent the publication of Mr Robinson’s address - telling the court his client had been subject to 12 police visits where he was warned of threats to his life, known as Osman warnings. The judge refused the application after hearing representations from the media.

The former English Defence League founder, from Bedfordshire, was arrested and pepper sprayed by police near the Royal Courts of Justice at the march in central London last November.

Tommy Robinson, 40, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon (PA)
Tommy Robinson, 40, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon (PA)

Organisers had said he would not be welcome at the event, which saw tens thousands of demonstrators flock to the capital, but Robinson said he was attending as a journalist.

The Metropolitan Police later announced he had been charged failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area.

In a statement following the incident last year, the Metropolitan Police said: “The arrested man resisted as officers attempted to put him in handcuffs. He was warned repeatedly before PAVA spray was used.

“Following its use, officers gained control of him and handcuffs were applied.”

In an earlier statement, the force said organisers had “been clear about their concerns that the man’s attendance, and that of those who were likely to accompany him, would cause fear for other participants”.

Mr Robinson said he attended the march as a journalist and denied causing alarm or distress to others.