LONDONR Tommy Robinson, a British far-right activist, lost a defamation case filed Thursday by a teenage refugee from Syria who was filmed being attacked at his school after Mr. Robinson falsely claimed that the boy himself had violently attacked his classmates.
Mr Robinson will be required to pay ,000 100,000 in damages, about $ 137,000, according to a verdict handed down by Justice Matthew Nicklin during a lengthy hearing in London High Court. He also ordered Mr. Robinson to pay teenagers legal costs, which are likely to outweigh the damages.
Mr Robinson, 38, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was the founder of the English Defense League, a nationalist group known for its anti-Islam and anti-immigration stance and violent street protests. Despite being seen on the frontiers of British life, he has also become an internationally prominent figure for supporters of similar ideologies, with links to the far right in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.
The teenager, Jamal Hijazi, now 17, was filmed attacking him school in northern England in October 2018, and after the video went viral, Mr. Robinson claimed in two videos posted on his Facebook page that the teenager was not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls at his school.
In one of the clips, Mr. Robinson had said the teenager beat a black and blue girl and threatened to stab a boy at his school, which Mr Hijazi denied. His two posts related to the video were viewed together more than a million times, according to court documents.
Mr Robinson represented himself in court, arguing that his comments were essentially true. But the court ruled Thursday that Mr Robinsons’ evidence was unable to prove any of his allegations.
Mr Hijazi came to Britain with his family in 2016 as a refugee from the city of Homs in Syria, according to court documents. His lawyers argued that the posts by Mr. Robinson had a devastating impact on the teenager and had led to death threats.
In his decision, Justice Nicklin reaffirmed that idea, noting that Mr. Hijazi became the target of the abuse that eventually led him and his family to leave their home, and the claimant that he had to drop out of his schooling. The judge ruled that the posts of Mr. The Robinsons were calculated to stir up the situation after the initial video of the attack on Mr. Hijazi became a focus of public discussion in Britain.
The wounds from what Mr. had done. Robinson, and especially its effects on Mr.’s education. Hijazis, were likely to last for many years, if not one life, the judge added.
Reacting to the decision, Francesca Flood, one of the lawyers representing Mr Hijazi, said the firm was pleased that Jamal had been fully acquitted.
Jamal and his family now want to leave the matter behind so they can move on with their lives, she said in a statement. However, they would like to thank the large British public for their support and generosity, without which this legal action would not have been possible.
The court also issued an order against Mr Robinson ordering him not to post or publish similar charges against Mr Hijazi. The judge said that based on the statements that Mr. Robinson had done in court, the activist intended to repeat much of the evidence that was heard in this trial and the allegations made against the teenager.
After the decision was given, Mr. Robinson told the judge that his financial struggle would make it impossible for him to pay the required court costs, or perhaps damages.
The cost is staggering, he said. The other point is, I have no money, I am bankrupt. I have struggled immensely with my issues these last 12 months.
Mr Robinson also said he had recently made a film with an American broadcaster who reviewed the incident and asked if the order would affect it, which the judge said he was not there to offer advice on the legality of the film.
Mr Robinson is no stranger to the English legal system. He has several past criminal convictions, including violence, acts of public order, disobedience to court orders, and fraud. In 2019, he was found guilty of contempt of court and was jailed after filming outside a court in Leeds which had a news media outage.
He has served four prison terms and has been banned from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for violating the guidelines of social media platforms.
Facebook, in a blog post of 2019, explained that he had removed his accounts after posts violating our policies about organized hatred.
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