The Islamophobe Tommy Robinson has lost a High Court libel case brought by a Syrian schoolboy and now faces having to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages and costs.
Jamal Hijazi was filmed being attacked in the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in October 2018 in a video that went viral. But Robinson claimed Hijazi attacked “young English girls.”
Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Mr Hijazi’s favour and granted him £100,000 in damages. Robinson was also ordered to pay legal costs which is thought to amount to about £500,000.
Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that the teenager was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school.”
In the clips viewed by nearly one million people, he claimed Jamal “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at his school – allegations the teenager denies.
The BBC reports that the judge said that Robinson’s defence that the “very serious” allegations were substantially true had not been proved.
He said: “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 responsible for this harm, some of the scars of which, particularly the impact on the claimant’s education, are likely to last for many years, if not a lifetime.”
Mr Justice Nicklin said 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 lawyers welcomed the judgement and praised Mr Hijazi’s “courage” in pursuing the claim.
Francesca Flood, from Burlingtons Legal, said: “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.”
Robinson, who represented himself during the trial, maintained he was an independent journalist, telling the court: “The media simply had zero interest in the other side of this story, the uncomfortable truth.”