Tommy Robinson loses libel trial as Syrian schoolboy awarded £100,000 in damages

22 July 2021, 14:45 | Updated: 22 July 2021, 14:49

Tommy Robinson represented himself in the libel case
Tommy Robinson represented himself in the libel case. Picture: Alamy

A Syrian schoolboy has been awarded £100,000 in damages as Tommy Robinson lost a libel case brought against him.

Jamal Hijazi, who was assaulted on the playground at school in Huddersfield, sued the English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

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

Nearly a million people viewed the clips, in which the 38-year-old claimed the schoolboy "beat a girl black and blue" and "threatened to stab" another boy at his school.

Jamal, who left Homs in Syria as a refugee with his family, denied the allegations.

Lawyers for the boy, who was attacked at Almondbury Community School in October 2018, said Mr Robinson's words had a "devastating effect" on him, while Robinson, representing himself, said his comments were substantially true.

However, on Thursday, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Jamal's favour, granting him £100,000 in damages – though Jamal's QC said Mr Robinson's comments led to him facing "death threats and extremist agitation" and argued he should receive up to £190,000.

Catrin Evans QC said, during the trial, that Mr Robinson was a "well-known extreme right advocate" with an "anti-Muslim agenda" and that his Facebook videos "turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight".

Mr Robinson insisted he was an independent journalist and told the court the media "simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth".

Another hearing is scheduled to consider the consequences of the ruling.