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Tommy Robinson loses High Court libel case Tommy Robinson loses High Court libel case
(32 minutes later)
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, represented himself at the trial at the Royal Courts of JusticeStephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, represented himself at the trial at the Royal Courts of Justice
Anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson has lost a High Court libel case brought by a Syrian schoolboy.Anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson has lost a High Court libel case brought by a Syrian schoolboy.
Jamal Hijazi was filmed being attacked in the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in October 2018.Jamal Hijazi was filmed being attacked in the playground at Almondbury School in Huddersfield in October 2018.
The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed Mr Hijazi attacked "young English girls".The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed Mr Hijazi attacked "young English girls".
Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Mr Hijazi's favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Mr Hijazi's favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.
Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Mr Robinson claimed in two Facebook videos that the teenager was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school".Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Mr 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, 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.In the clips viewed by nearly one million people, 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.
'Calculated to inflame''Calculated to inflame'
The judge said Yaxley-Lennon's defence that the "very serious" allegations were substantially true had not been proved.The judge said Yaxley-Lennon'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.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 last for many years, if not a lifetime.""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."
Mr Justice Nicklin said Yaxley Lennon used language "calculated to inflame the situation".Mr Justice Nicklin said Yaxley Lennon 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."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.
More stories from YorkshireMore stories from Yorkshire
Jamal Hijazi's lawyers welcomed the judgement and praised Mr Hijazi's "courage" to pursue the claim. At a hearing following the judgement the judge granted an injunction against Yaxley-Lennon, preventing him from repeating the allegations he made.
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.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.""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."
Death threatsDeath threats
During a trial in April, Catrin Evans QC, for Mr Hijazi, said that Yaxley-Lennon's comments led to the teenager "facing death threats and extremist agitation" and that he should receive damages of between £150,000 and £190,000.During a trial in April, Catrin Evans QC, for Mr Hijazi, said that Yaxley-Lennon's comments led to the teenager "facing death threats and extremist agitation" and that he should receive damages of between £150,000 and £190,000.
She described Yaxley-Lennon as "a well-known extreme-right advocate" with an "anti-Muslim agenda" who used social media to spread his views.She described Yaxley-Lennon as "a well-known extreme-right advocate" with an "anti-Muslim agenda" who used social media to spread his views.
She added that the defendant's videos "turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight".She added that the defendant's videos "turned Jamal into the aggressor and the bully into a righteous white knight".
Yaxley Lennon, 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."Yaxley Lennon, 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."
A hearing will follow Thursday's judgment to consider the consequences of the ruling.