Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought by a Syrian schoolboy and it’s safe to say people aren’t too sympathetic to his ‘plight’.
The anti-Islam activist – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was sued by Jamal Hijazi who has been granted £100,000 in damages.
The situation started when Hijazi was assaulted in the playground at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018. Shortly after a video of the incident went viral, 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 1m people, the founder of the English Defence League also claimed Hijazi “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at his school, allegations the teenager denies.
Representing himself in court, he argued that his comments were substantially true, claiming to have “uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour” by Hijazi, while Hijazi’s lawyers said Robinson’s claims had had “a devastating effect” on him and his family.
Mr Justice Nicklin said Robinson caused Hijazi to become “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 responsible for this harm, some of the scars of which, particularly the impact on the claimant’s education, are likely last for many years, if not a lifetime.”
He added that Robinson used language “calculated to inflame the situation”.
“The defendant’s contribution to this media frenzy was a deliberate effort to portray the claimant as being, far from an innocent victim, but in fact a violent aggressor,” he added.
Jamal Hijazi’s lawyer, Francesca Flood, added: “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.
“We are delighted that Jamal has been entirely vindicated.
“Jamal and his family now wish to put this matter behind them in order that they can 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.”
Responding to the verdict, people celebrated.
Anti hate campaign group HOPE not Hate said:
Stephen Lennon's lies finally catch up with him. He's a criminal, a far right Islamophobic extremist, and now he's… https://t.co/IpSvooFpUa