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Tommy Robinson loses libel case against Syrian teen who was attacked at school
Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a teenage Syrian boy who was filmed being attacked at school.
The English Defence League founder was taken to court by Jamal Hijazi, who was recorded being bullied in the playground at Almondbury Community School, Huddersfield, in October 2018.
Shortly after the video went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos – viewed by nearly a million people – that Jamal was ‘not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school’.
Jamal’s lawyers said the comments left the refugee ‘facing death threats and extremist agitation’.
Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – claimed Jamal ‘beat a girl black and blue’ and ‘threatened to stab’ another boy at the school, allegations the youngster denies.
Throughout proceedings, which were heard in court in April before today’s ruling by a judge, the 38-year-old far right activist had claimed he was an independent journalist, telling the court: ‘The media simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth.’
But Catrin Evans QC, representing Jamal, described Robinson as ‘a well-known extreme-right advocate’ with an anti-Muslim agenda who used social media to spread his extremist views.
Lawyers said that Robinson’s comments had ‘a devastating effect’ on Jamal and his family, who had come to the UK from Homs in Syria.
Ms Evans said that if the teenager won he should receive damages between £150,000 and £190,000.
Robinson claimed to have ‘uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour’ by Jamal and defended the comments as substantially true.
Representing himself, he added: ‘I only reported what I was told. That is all I’m doing here in this court, looking for the truth.’
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