Teen Wins Libel Case In opposition to Tommy Robinson, U.Ok. Far-Proper Activist

LONDON — Tommy Robinson, a British far-right activist, misplaced a libel case on Thursday filed by a teenage refugee from Syria who had been filmed being attacked at his faculty, after Mr. Robinson falsely claimed the boy had himself violently attacked classmates.

Mr. Robinson might be required to pay 100,000 kilos in damages, round $137,000, in line with the judgment handed down by Justice Matthew Nicklin throughout a distant session in London’s Excessive Courtroom. He additionally ordered Mr. Robinson to pay {the teenager}’s authorized prices, that are more likely to be bigger than the damages.

Mr. Robinson, 38, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was the founding father of the English Protection League, a nationalist group identified for its anti-Islam and anti-immigration stance and for violent avenue protests. Regardless of being seen as on the fringes of British life, he has additionally develop into a distinguished determine internationally for supporters of comparable ideologies, with links to the far right in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.

{The teenager}, Jamal Hijazi, now 17, was filmed being attacked at his faculty in northern England in October 2018, and after the video unfold on-line, Mr. Robinson claimed in two movies posted on his Fb web page that {the teenager} was “not harmless and he violently assaults younger English ladies in his faculty.”

In one of many clips, Mr. Robinson had stated that {the teenager} “beat a lady black and blue” and “threatened to stab” a boy at his faculty, which Mr. Hijazi denied. His two posts in regards to the video have been collectively considered greater than 1,000,000 occasions, in line with courtroom paperwork.

Mr. Robinson represented himself on the trial, arguing that his feedback have been substantively true. However the courtroom decided on Thursday that Mr. Robinson’s proof “fell woefully brief” of proving any of his allegations.

Mr. Hijazi got here to Britain along with his household in 2016 as refugees from the town of Homs in Syria, according to court documents. His attorneys argued that the posts by Mr. Robinson had a devastating impression on {the teenager} and had led to demise threats.

In his decision, Justice Nicklin reaffirmed that concept, noting that Mr. Hijazi “grew to become the goal of abuse which in the end led to him and his household having to depart their residence, and the claimant to need to abandon his schooling.” The choose decided that Mr. Robinson’s posts have been “calculated to inflame the scenario,” after the preliminary video of the assault on Mr. Hijazi grew to become a spotlight of public dialogue in Britain.

Scars from what Mr. Robinson had accomplished, and significantly its results on Mr. Hijazi’s schooling, have been more likely to final “for a few years, if not a lifetime,” the choose added.

Reacting to the choice, Francesca Flood, one of many attorneys representing Mr. Hijazi, stated that the agency was “delighted that Jamal has been solely vindicated.”

“Jamal and his household now want to put this matter behind them so that they will get on with their lives,” she stated in an announcement. “They do, nonetheless, want to lengthen their gratitude to the good British public for his or her assist and generosity, with out which this authorized motion wouldn’t have been potential.”

The courtroom additionally granted an injunction in opposition to Mr. Robinson ordering him to not submit or publish related allegations in opposition to Mr. Hijazi. The choose stated that based mostly on statements Mr. Robinson had made in courtroom, the activist supposed to “repeat a big a part of the proof that has been heard on this trial and the allegations” made in opposition to {the teenager}.

After the choice was handed down, Mr. Robinson advised the choose that his personal monetary struggles would make it unimaginable to pay the required courtroom prices, or in all probability the damages.

“The fee is surprising,” he stated. “The opposite level is, I don’t have any cash, I’m bankrupt. I’ve struggled massively with my very own points these previous 12 months.”

Mr. Robinson additionally stated that he had lately made a movie with an American broadcaster that revisited the incident and requested whether or not the injunction would have an effect on that, to which the choose stated he was not there to supply recommendation on the legality of the movie.

Mr. Robinson is not any stranger to England’s authorized system. He has a number of previous felony convictions, together with for violence, public order offenses, disobeying courtroom orders and fraud. In 2019, he was discovered guilty of contempt of court and jailed after filming exterior a courtroom in Leeds which had a information media blackout.

He has served 4 stints in jail and has been banned from Twitter, Instagram and Fb for breaching the social media platforms’ pointers.

Fb, in a 2019 blog post, defined that it had eliminated his accounts after posts that “violate our insurance policies round organized hate.”

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