While Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, ranted recently from a motorway service area about a teenager who is accused of assaulting a Syrian refugee at their school near Huddersfield, he let slip that someone was looking to sue him. This was one of those blink-and-you-miss-it moments; it was clear that Lennon did not take the idea seriously. He may soon have cause to reconsider.
What should be giving Lennon cause to worry is the narrative in a Crowdjustice post by Abdulnasser Youssef, described as “Jamal’s Litigation Friend” (Jamal is the young Syrian refugee). He tells “He defamed the young boy by falsely stating that amongst other things Jamal was involved in the violent gang beating of young English girl who had to be subsequently home-schooled through fear”. And there is more.
“We will be bringing an action in defamation against Lennon, we are also exploring bringing a claim against Facebook and other social media platforms which have been exploited by Lennon to publish his false and damaging comments made in respect of Jamal”. Also, there are further counts of defamation to consider.
“On the 28 November 2018 Mr Lennon produced the first video containing defamatory statements about Jamal … Over the following days and weeks, further publications which contained defamatory statements in respect of Jamal were published by Mr Lennon, and again these were posted to various social media platforms”. And the result?
“Jamal became the focus of countless messages of hate and threats from the extreme right wing. The police informed Jamal that there was an increased risk to the safety of he and his family; as a result, he and his family were forced to relocate”. Therefore “We will be pursuing an action, in defamation, and any other cause of action advised by our solicitors in respect of the defamatory publications made by Mr Lennon”.
Now come the interesting parts, and for Lennon the parts to which he would be best advised to pay attention. “We are exploring routes by which the social media platforms that provide a means of dissemination to Lennon can also be attached to this action”. That would mean making the likes of Facebook liable, as they had disseminated the content.
And now the pièce de résistance: “We will also have to undertake a review regarding the enforceability of any judgment which is successfully obtained for Jamal. We expect this to be complex as Mr Lennon has not only gone by several names during his lifetime but also has several criminal convictions … His criminality indicates that enforcement of any financial award obtained may be challenging. We hope to penetrate the veil of Mr Lennon's finances, identify and forensically trace all of Mr Lennon's financial assets so that he does not escape the economic consequences of his defamation of others”.
It would make little sense winning a defamation action, only to see Lennon squirrel away his assets beyond the reach of the courts. This tracing work is going on alongside accumulating evidence of defamation. Lennon knows this. Hence his angry and agitated tone when discussing the case the other day. He knows this is serious.
What this case is about is not only securing redress for Lennon’s repeated defamation of a young Syrian refugee, but then enforcing the judgment. That means it’s serious.
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