Tommy Robinson summonsed to face contempt of court proceedings

12 April 2022, 10:21

Tommy Robinson has been summonsed to court to face contempt proceedings
Tommy Robinson has been summonsed to court to face contempt proceedings. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Tommy Robinson has been summonsed to court to face contempt proceedings after he failed to attend the High Court for questioning over his finances.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was due to appear at the Royal Courts of Justice in London last month in connection with unpaid legal bills after he lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian teenager last year.

But after the 39-year-old did not appear for the expected questioning, a High Court judge has now issued a summons ordering Robinson to attend a hearing on May 6.

In an order dated last Friday, Mr Justice Nicklin said Robinson's non-attendance on March 22 was referred to him as a potential contempt of court.

The judge wrote that he considered "a prima facie case of contempt of court is made out" and was therefore issuing the summons.

His order warns that if Robinson fails to attend the hearing in May to face the contempt allegation, a warrant for his arrest could be issued.

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, which the court heard has since been discharged.

In February, 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.

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".

After Robinson failed to appear in March, 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, adding that Robinson had emailed the court asking for the hearing to be adjourned.

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

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

Robinson was previously jailed after being found in contempt of court after he filmed men accused of the sexual exploitation of young girls and live-streamed the footage on Facebook, in breach of a reporting ban, outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018.

He was sentenced to 13 months after being found in contempt of court on the day of the broadcast. He served two months in jail before being freed after that finding of contempt was overturned by the Court of Appeal in August 2018.

But the case was then referred back to the Attorney General and he was jailed again in July 2019.

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