Tommy Robinson fails to appear at High Court for questioning over finances

Robinson, real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was due to appear in connection with unpaid legal bills after he lost a libel case last year.

22 March 2022

Tommy Robinson has failed to appear at the High Court for questioning over his finances.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was due to appear on Tuesday in connection with unpaid legal bills after he lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager last year.

The English Defence League founder was successfully sued by Jamal Hijazi after the then 15-year-old was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.

Shortly after a video of the incident went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that Mr Hijazi was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”, claims a High Court judge later found to be false.

After a pre-trial hearing for the libel case in November 2020, Robinson was ordered to pay more than £43,000 in legal costs.

He declared bankruptcy about four months later.

Last month, Mr Hijazi’s lawyers successfully applied for an order requiring Robinson to return to the Royal Courts of Justice to answer questions about his finances.

However, Robinson did not appear at the central London hearing on Tuesday.

Ian Helme, for Mr Hijazi, previously told the court there was information “that what is stated in his bankruptcy application is not a full account of (Robinson’s) assets”.

He said that the chance to cross-examine Robinson “under oath, accompanied by documents provided by the defendant, will provide for a more detailed analysis of his assets than might be possible through the normal bankruptcy process”.

On Tuesday Mr Helme said lawyers had “tried various methods to bring this to Mr Lennon’s attention” including sending documents by post to multiple addresses – including one in Tenerife and his ex-wife’s home – and to different phone numbers via WhatsApp.

Judge John Dagnall found that Robinson knew “perfectly well” that he was due to attend court on Tuesday.

“It seems to me at first sight a classic situation where he has decided not to attend,” he said.

Judge Dagnall said that “all I can do” is to refer Robinson’s non-attendance to a High Court judge.

“They may, if he or she chooses to do so, hold Mr Yaxley-Lennon in contempt,” he continued.

“That is a matter for the High Court judge.”

However, the judge added that any committal for contempt of court could be suspended.

The hearing continues and is expected to conclude on Tuesday.

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