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Tommy Robinson loses libel case brought by Syrian schoolboy | Tommy Robinson

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The anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson has misplaced a libel case brought towards him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at college.

The English Defence League founder, whose actual identify is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after an incident in a college playground in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.

Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Robinson falsely claimed in Facebook movies seen by practically 1 million those who Hijazi was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”.

He additionally claimed Hijazi, now 18, “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” one other boy at his faculty, allegations {the teenager} denies.

In a excessive courtroom judgment on Thursday, Mr Justice Matthew Nicklin mentioned the results of Robinson’s falsehoods had been “particularly severe” for Hijazi, to whom he awarded £100,000 in damages.

The decide mentioned Robinson had made Hijazi out to be “a violent aggressor” within the playground incident when he was in reality the sufferer.

The activist used language “calculated to inflame the situation”, Nicklin mentioned, finally inflicting Hijazi to desert his schooling and forcing his household to flee their dwelling.

The teenager acquired demise threats after changing into a goal for the far proper. Nicklin mentioned the scars from the incident would “likely last for many years, if not a lifetime”.

Hijazi’s attorneys mentioned they have been delighted he had been “entirely vindicated”. Francesca Flood of Burlingtons Legal mentioned: “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 Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson.”

Robinson, who represented himself through the four-day trial, argued his feedback have been considerably true, claiming to have “uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour” by Hijazi.

However, the decide dominated Robinson had did not show every of his seven claims and that “in reality … his evidence fell woefully short.”

The judgment leaves Robinson, who has beforehand been financially supported by right-leaning teams within the US, dealing with a heavy financial penalty at a time when he claims to be bankrupt.

Robinson mentioned he was “gobsmacked” by the prices Hijazi’s attorneys have been claiming, which he mentioned included £70,000 for taking witness statements. He added: “I’ve not got any money. I’m bankrupt. I’ve struggled hugely with my own issues these last 12 months … I ain’t got it.”

Nicklin acknowledged “there are limits on what can be enforced against him” because of Robinson’s chapter, however dominated he ought to pay Hijazi’s authorized prices, which weren’t acknowledged in courtroom.

Robinson stays one of many UK’s highest-profile rightwing campaigners regardless of being banned from mainstream social media and beset by authorized issues. The Luton-born activist has beforehand acquired a whole bunch of hundreds of kilos in donations from rich worldwide backers in addition to strange supporters.

The decide mentioned he didn’t consider the filmed assault towards Hijazi was racially motivated. Bailey McLaren, the boy seen attacking Hijazi within the clip, had been “catapulted into the maelstrom of a media storm” and was additionally a sufferer within the case, Nicklin mentioned.

He added: “In such circumstances, it is hardly surprising if Bailey regarded the defendant as something of a saviour; someone who was prepared to help him in what must have been a low and very frightening point of his life. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, Bailey may yet come to reflect on whether he has actually been helped by the defendant.”

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