Tommy Robinson loses Jamal Hijazi libel case

picture copyrightPA Media

picture captionStephen Yaxley-Lennon, generally known as Tommy Robinson, represented himself on the trial on the Royal Courts of Justice

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has been ordered to pay £100,000 in libel damages to a Syrian schoolboy.

The anti-Islam activist, actual title Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, revealed two Facebook movies in response to a viral clip of Jamal Hijazi being attacked.

He did not persuade the High Court his claims, corresponding to Mr Hijazi attacking “young English girls”, have been true.

Mr Justice Nicklin present in Mr Hijazi’s favour after a trial earlier this 12 months.

The decide additionally ordered Mr Yaxley-Lennon to pay authorized prices understood by the BBC to quantity to about £500,000.

‘Target of abuse’

Mr Hijazi was filmed being attacked within the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in October 2018.

Shortly after the video of the assault went viral, Mr Yaxley-Lennon claimed in two Facebook movies that {the teenager} was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”.

In clips considered by almost a million individuals, the 38-year-old additionally claimed Mr Hijazi “beat a girl black and blue” and threatened to stab one other boy at his college, allegations denied by Mr Hijazi.

“As was entirely predictable, the claimant then became the target of abuse which ultimately led to him and his family having to leave their home, and the claimant to have to abandon his education.

“The defendant is accountable for this hurt, a few of the scars of which, significantly the impression on the claimant’s training, are prone to final for a few years, if not a lifetime.”

The judge said Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s defence that the “very critical” allegations were substantially true had not been proved, and he had used language “calculated to inflame the scenario”.

“The defendant’s contribution to this media frenzy was a deliberate effort to painting the claimant as being, removed from an harmless sufferer, however in truth a violent aggressor,” he added.

At a further hearing, the judge granted an injunction against Mr Yaxley-Lennon preventing him from repeating the allegations.

The final damages and costs figures will be agreed and submitted to the High Court at forthcoming hearings to establish Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s means and assets.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s repeated jailings down the years – including nine months for interfering with a trial of a sexual grooming gang – have failed to silence him. But a turning of the legal screw on his finances may have a more profound effect.

He made a small fortune from his provocative social media channels attacking Islam and Muslims – enough to fund a lifestyle that would be the envy of many, complete with a large country house.

The cash began to dry up as he was thrown off Facebook and Youtube and some of his wealthy benefactors in North American backed away. Today, his social media reach is a shadow of what it once was. It’s never been clear how much he made and where it has all gone – and that’s why this judgment is so important. Not only does it vindicate Jamal Hijazi – but it opens the door to a court examination of his finances and how he affords to keep his activities going.

Jamal Hijazi’s lawyers welcomed the judgement and praised Mr Hijazi’s “braveness” in pursuing the claim.

Francesca Flood, from Burlingtons Legal, said: “Jamal and his household now want to put this matter behind them so that they will get on with their lives.

“They do, however, wish to extend their gratitude to the Great British public for their support and generosity, without which this legal action would not have been possible.”

Death threats

During a trial in April, Catrin Evans QC, for Mr Hijazi, mentioned that Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s feedback led to {the teenager} “facing death threats and extremist agitation” and that he ought to obtain damages of between £150,000 and £190,000.

She described Mr Yaxley-Lennon as “a well-known extreme-right advocate” with an “anti-Muslim agenda” who used social media to unfold his views.

His movies “turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight”, she mentioned.

Mr Yaxley-Lennon, who represented himself in the course of the trial, maintained he was an unbiased journalist, telling the court docket: “The media simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth.”

The BBC shouldn’t be accountable for the content material of exterior websites.

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