Tommy Robinson claims to have ‘mental health issues’ after being sued by Huddersfield schoolboy
Tommy Robinson did not go to court to be questioned about his finances due to mental health issues caused by the harassment, the High Court has been told.
Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was due for a hearing in March over an unpaid legal bill after losing a defamation case brought against him by a Syrian teenager last year. Jamal Hijazi successfully sued Robinson after the then schoolboy was assaulted at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in October 2018.
After the incident went viral, Robinson made false claims that Mr Hijazi had attacked girls at his school, which led to the defamation case. Following a preliminary hearing in November 2020, Robinson was ordered to pay over £43,000 in court costs.
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Earlier this year, lawyers for Mr Hijazi successfully sought an order requiring Robinson to return to court to answer questions about his finances on March 22, but the 39-year-old failed to appear. The case was referred to a High Court judge who ordered the founder of the English Defense League to appear in court on Friday for a preliminary hearing into whether he was in contempt of court.
As he entered the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday morning, Robinson called the hearing “boring shit”.
Oliver McEntee, representing Robinson, told the High Court the 39-year-old faced mental health issues and could provide medical evidence. He said: “My instructions are that he suffered and suffered at the relevant time from a number of mental health issues which he claims are attributable to the harassment of several people.
“He is, for better or worse, a bit of a notorious character.” The lawyer later said: “Mr Yaxley-Lennon says, to put it bluntly, that he was simply not in a state of mind to come to court due to the culmination of the issues. mental health and the harassment he faced.”
Judge Nicklin said Robinson is expected to attend a full hearing in August to decide whether he was in contempt of court, where he could provide evidence of his medical issues. Ordering Robinson to return, the judge said: “If he were to fail to appear again, it would be an aggravating circumstance if the court ultimately found that he had no lawful excuse for not appearing on March 22.”
Robinson will also have to return to the Royal Courts of Justice on June 9 for initial questioning about his finances. Nick Lowles, Chief Executive of Hope not Hate, said: “For those of us who have worked for justice for the teenage victim of Robinson’s vile vitriol, Jamal Hijazi, Tommy Robinson’s presence in court today is a step in the right direction. Jamal and his family deserve justice.
“We believe Tommy Robinson is hiding at least £3million in assets and have collected enough evidence to prove it. We look forward to seeing this case progress and will continue to work tirelessly to try to ensure that Jamal and his the family sees Robinson pay.”
Following the success of Mr Hijazi’s defamation case, Judge Nicklin ordered Robinson to pay him damages of £100,000. Mr Hijazi’s legal costs are said to be around £500,000.