August 01, 2018
Appeal court quashes finding of contempt against English Defence League founder

Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, is to be freed from prison after the court of appeal ordered that he should be retried on a contempt of court charge.
He has been held at Onley jail near Rugby after receiving a 13-month sentence for breaches of reporting restrictions at Leeds and Canterbury crown courts.
At the court of appeal on Wednesday, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, upheld the Canterbury ruling but said the ruling in Leeds was “flawed” and there should be a retrial.
Robinson, the appeal court said, would be released on bail on condition that he attended the retrial before the recorder of London at a date to be fixed and keep a distance of at least 400 metres from Leeds crown court.
In the ruling, the lord chief justice quashed the Leeds finding of contempt. That court hearing should not have proceeded immediately but waited to hear the case on a “fully informed basis”, he said.
The judgment added: “It was unclear what conduct was said to comprise a breach of that order and the appellant was sentenced on the basis of conduct which fell outside the scope of that order.
“The decision at Leeds crown court to proceed to committal to prison so promptly and without due regard for [part] of the rules gave rise to unfairness.
“The judge might have referred the matter to the attorney general to consider whether to institute proceedings. That course would have avoided the risk of sacrificing fairness on the altar of celerity.”
Robinson’s supporters in the packed courtroom broke into applause as Burnett announced the decision. The judge called for silence while he read a summary of the judgment.
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, supporters of Robinson and anti-racism protesters chanted rival slogans at each other separated by crowd barriers and police.
Members of Stand Up to Racism yelled: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” and “Nazi scum”. Supporters of Robinson called back: “You’re the racists”,and “He’s coming home, he’s coming home, Tommy’s coming home” to the tune of the England World Cup football song.
The judges had been urged to overturn contempt of court findings against Robinson, 35, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon. At a hearing in July, his QC, Jeremy Dein, argued that procedural deficiencies had given rise to prejudice.
Dein also submitted that the sentence was “manifestly excessive” and that insufficient regard had been given to personal mitigation.
Robinson was jailed in May after he filmed people involved in a criminal trial and broadcast the footage on social media. The footage, lasting about an hour, was watched 250,000 times within hours of being posted on Facebook.
The far-right activist was sentenced to 10 months in prison for contempt of court, which he admitted, and given a further three months for breaching the previously suspended sentence imposed by Canterbury crown court last year.
Jailing him, Judge Geoffrey Marson told Robinson it was a “serious aggravating feature” that he was encouraging others to share it and it had been shared widely.
He added: “Everyone understands the right to freedom of speech but there are responsibilities and obligations. I am not sure you appreciate the potential consequence of what you have done. People have to understand that if they breach court orders there will be very real consequences.”
The London law firm Carson Kaye, which represented Robinson, thanked the court of appeal for its “detailed judgment”.
Its statement issued after the ruling on Wednesday, added: “The rule of law and the right to a fair hearing are fundamental to every individual and this ruling [is] an example of the procedural safeguards of the system ... What makes the British system so unique is the ability to set aside personal feelings and deal with the law and each case on its merits.”
Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Weyman Bennett, the joint national secretary of Stand Up to Racism, described the judgment as “mistaken”.
“We believe that it will encourage racists and Islamophobes to build and organise,” he said. “I believe if he was a black kid from Tottenham, where I’m from, he would still be in jail.”
Vince Crawthron, 70, a Royal Navy veteran, had travelled from Cwmbran in Wales to support Robinson. “Tommy has been unjustly imprisoned,” he said. “They want to silence him because he challenges the status quo.”
The Ukip leader, Gerard Batten – who spoke at a rally in support of Robinson in July – tweeted: “A word of appreciation for the appeal court today. They held up the best traditions of English law. Fair and impartial. But the conduct of the judge in the Leeds case needs looking at. That wasn’t fair or impartial.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
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Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
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The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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