Tommy Robinson must wait to learn result of Syrian teen's libel case

Tommy Robinson faces wait to learn result of £190,000 libel case brought by Syrian teenager who was filmed being attacked at school

  • Ruling over whether Robinson has won or lost the libel case has been postponed
  • Robinson is being sued by Jamal Hijazi after he made videos about the refugee
  • He claimed Jamal, 16, participated in an attack on a schoolgirl, which he denies
  • Jamal Hijazi’s legal team told the High Court the 16-year-old should be awarded between £150,000 and £190,000 in damages if the judge finds in his favour 

Tommy Robinson faces a wait to find out whether he has won or lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian boy who was filmed being attacked at school.

The English Defence League founder – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – is being sued by Jamal Hijazi, who was recorded being bullied in the playground at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.

Shortly after the film went viral, Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos, which were viewed by nearly one million people, that Jamal was ‘not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school’.

The 38-year-old also claimed Jamal ‘beat a girl black and blue’ and ‘threatened to stab’ another boy at his school, allegations the teenager denies.

At a four-day trial at the High Court in April, Jamal’s lawyers said that Robinson’s comments had ‘a devastating effect’ on the teenager and his family, who had come to the UK as refugees from Homs in Syria.

Tommy Robinson (right) faces a wait to find out whether he has won or lost a libel case brought against him by Syrian refugee Jamal Hijazi (left) who was filmed being attacked at his school

Catrin Evans QC described Robinson as ‘a well-known extreme-right advocate’ with an anti-Muslim agenda who used social media to spread his extremist views.

Ms Evans said Robinson’s comments led to Jamal ‘facing death threats and extremist agitation’ and that if the teenager wins the claim he should receive damages between £150,000 and £190,000.

Throughout the trial Robinson 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.’

Robinson claimed to have ‘uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour’ by Jamal and defended the comments as substantially true.

He said that, with people donating nearly £160,000 to a GoFundMe page set up for the claimant, he believed it was important for people to be given a ‘balanced view’.

Pictured: A video showing Jamal being pushed to the ground and ‘waterboarded’ on the field at his secondary school in Huddersfield, W. Yorks, was shared nationwide in November 2018

Robinson, who represented himself, added: ‘I only reported what I was told. That is all I’m doing here in this court, looking for the truth.’

The trial also heard evidence from Bailey McLaren, the boy shown pushing Jamal to the ground and pouring water over him in the widely shared video, who denied being racist or a bully.

Robinson continued: ‘Almondbury Community School has its failings for sure, but racism and racist bullying was not one of them.’

He added: ‘Just because (Jamal) might have been a victim does not automatically mean he himself couldn’t be a nasty, foul-mouthed and often violent young person, particularly against girls and smaller, younger boys.’

Mr Justice Nicklin was due to hand down his written judgment on Monday; however, the ruling has now been postponed.

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