English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at school.
Robinson - whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - was sued by Jamal Hijazi, who was assaulted in a playground at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield in October 2018.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- 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.
- However, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Jamal’s favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.
What’s been said
Catrin Evans QC, for Jamal, previously said that Robinson’s comments led to the teenager “facing death threats and extremist agitation”.
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”.
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.”
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