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Friday, May 27, 2022

'Bankrupt' Tommy Robinson faces High Court questioning over finances

'Bankrupt' Tommy Robinson faces High Court questioning over finances

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson will be quizzed about his finances after he failed to pay legal bills for a libel case he lost.

The 39-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after defaming him online.

In response to a video of the then 16-year-old schoolboy being attacked, Mr Yaxley-Lennon claimed he had attacked "young English girls".

A High Court judge ordered him to court to answer questions on his finances.

Mr Yaxley-Lennon was sued by Mr Hijazi after he made the accusations following a viral video clip of him being attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in 2018.

'Analysis of assets'

The judge found in the claimant's favour and said the fake accusations and language used by Mr Yaxley-Lennon on Facebook were intended to "inflame the situation".

At a High Court hearing earlier, Mr Hijazi's barrister Ian Helme said Mr Yaxley-Lennon was ordered to pay £43,293 in legal costs after a pre-trial hearing in November 2020.

However, at a further hearing in March 2021, he said he was bankrupt.

The barrister argued Mr Yaxley-Lennon, who did not attend the hearing, could be cross-examined about his finances over the debt, despite the ongoing bankruptcy process.

In written arguments, he stated: "The claimant envisages that counsel's opportunity to cross-examine the defendant 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."

The barrister said Mr Yaxley-Lennon owes a "substantial sum" and he intended to question him "with a view to establishing what steps would be most proportionate to take with a view to maximising recovery".

He told the court that Mr Hijazi's lawyers had information "that what is stated in his bankruptcy application is not a full account of [Mr Yaxley-Lennon's] assets".

While damages and legal costs from the libel trial were not mentioned at the High Court hearing, Mr Yaxley-Lennon was ordered to pay £100,000 damages to Mr Hijazi and £500,000 in legal costs.

The High Court hearing about his finances is due to take place on 22 March.


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