‘Bankrupt’ Tommy Robinson to be questioned about finances at High Court

Robinson was sued by a Huddersfield teenager who was assaulted at a school in October 2018

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Tommy Robinson will be questioned about his finances at the High Court following his failure to pay legal bills owed after he lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager.

Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was sued by Jamal Hijazi after the then 15-year-old was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield 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”.

In the clips, viewed by nearly a million people, 39-year-old Robinson also claimed Mr Hijazi “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at his school – allegations which were rejected as false in a judgment in July 2021.

At a hearing at the High Court in London on Thursday, Mr Hijazi’s lawyer Ian Helme applied for an order requiring Robinson to attend court to answer questions about his finances.

In written submissions, Mr Helme said that Robinson was ordered to pay £43,293 in legal costs after a pre-trial hearing in the libel case in November 2020.

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

On Thursday, Mr Helme argued Robinson, who did not attend the hearing, could be cross-examined about his finances over the five-figure debt, despite the ongoing bankruptcy process.

In written arguments, Mr Helme continued: “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 Robinson owes a “substantial sum” and that they intended to question Robinson “with a view to establishing what steps would be most proportionate to take with a view to maximising recovery”.

He later told the court that Mr Hijazi’s lawyers had information “that what is stated in his bankruptcy application is not a full account of (Robinson’s) assets”.

While damages and legal costs from the libel trial were not mentioned on Thursday, the former refugee was awarded £100,000 in damages and Mr Hijazi’s legal costs were thought to be more than £500,000.

Judge John Dagnall made the order requiring Robinson to return to court, finding there were “legitimate purposes” for it.

He added that while the trustee involved in Robinson’s bankruptcy could get more information, they were “content” for Robinson to be questioned by Mr Hijazi’s lawyers.

The judge said: “It seems to me that it is important that the civil proceedings were commenced prior to the bankruptcy and indeed this debt came into existence prior to the bankruptcy.

“It is not a situation of the claimant trying in some way or other to take over an existing bankruptcy process.”

He continued: “Questions have been raised as to whether or not there might be some attempt to set aside the bankruptcy adjudication on the basis that Mr Yaxley-Lennon was in fact solvent rather than insolvent as he claimed to the adjudicator.

“And that if he ended up providing information which revealed he had substantial assets, that would assist the judgment creditor claimant (Mr Hijazi) in deciding to make such an application.”

The hearing about Robinson’s finances is due to take place on March 22.