Tommy Robinson ordered to pay £100,000 to Syrian refugee after losing libel case

Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at school.

The English Defence League founder linked with far-Right extremism, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has been ordered to pay £100,000 in damages to the schoolboy, Jamal Hijazi.

The 18-year-old was filmed being attacked in the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in November 2018.

Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Mr Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that Jamal was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school".

In the clips viewed by nearly one million people, the 38-year-old also claimed Jamal "beat a girl black and blue" and "threatened to stab" another boy at his school, allegations the teenager denies.

At a four-day trial in April, Jamal’s lawyers said that Mr Robinson’s comments had "a devastating effect" on the schoolboy and his family who had come to the UK as refugees from Homs, Syria.

Mr Robinson, who represented himself, argued his comments were substantially true, claiming to have "uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour" by Jamal.

Tommy Robinson arriving at the Old Bailey in 2019 for contempt of court wearing a T-shirt that said 'convicted of journalism'

Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS

However, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Jamal’s favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.

Mr Justice Nicklin also granted Jamal an injunction against Mr Robinson, preventing him from repeating the allegations he made against the teenager, and ordered him to pay Jamal’s costs of bringing the libel claim.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Nicklin said Jamal suffered "particularly severe" consequences due to Robinson’s videos.

He said: "The defendant’s allegations against the claimant were very serious and were published widely. The defendant has admitted that their publication has caused serious harm to the claimant’s reputation."

Mr Justice Nicklin also rejected the allegations made as part of Mr Robinson’s defence that Jamal had been abusive towards women.

He added: "There is no trace of any such behaviour by the claimant in these records. On the contrary, his behavioural record is overwhelmingly positive."

Catrin Evans QC, for Jamal, previously said that Robinson’s comments led to the teenager "facing death threats and extremist agitation" and that he should receive damages of between £150,000 and £190,000.

During the trial, Ms Evans described Mr Robinson as "a well-known extreme-right advocate" with an "anti-Muslim agenda" who used social media to spread his views.

She added that Mr Robinson’s videos "turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight".

However, Mr Robinson maintained he was an independent journalist during the trial, telling the court: "The media simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth."

Jamal Hijazi’s lawyers have welcomed Mr Justice Nicklin’s judgment in favour of the 18-year-old.

Francesca Flood, from Burlingtons Legal, said: "It took great courage for our client, Jamal Hijazi, to pursue his libel action against such a prominent far-right and anti-Islam activist as Yaxley-Lennon.

"We are delighted that Jamal has been entirely vindicated."

A hearing will follow Thursday’s judgment to consider the consequences of the ruling.

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