Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

Syria teenager wins libel case against UK far-right leader Tommy Robinson

British far-right activist and former leader and founder of English Defence League (EDL), Tommy Robinson in London, UK on 11 July 2019 [Luke Dray/Getty Images]
British far-right activist and former leader and founder of English Defence League (EDL), Tommy Robinson in London, UK on 11 July 2019 [Luke Dray/Getty Images]

A Syrian teenager has won a libel case against UK far-right leader Tommy Robinson who called him a bully.

Jamal Hijazi won the case after the High Court ruled Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, 37, could not substantiate his allegations.

Jamal Hijazi, a Syrian teenager in the UK, 15 May 2019 [BlakeNordstrom1/Twitter]

Robinson made the comments after a video of Hijazi being pushed to the ground at a school in Huddersfield in 2018 surfaced online.

In two videos posted on Facebook, Robinson said Hijazi was "not innocent" and alleged "he violently attacks young English girls in his school".

Robinson also claimed the Syrian boy "beat a girl black and blue" and had "threatened to stab" another boy at his school.

The 37-year-old argued in court his comments were made "in the public interest".

Robinson said he contacted the then-15-year-old, known in the case as "B", who is seen pushing Hijazi in the footage and found there was "far more to the story".

He also allegedly reached out to the parents of three children who claim to have been verbally and physically assaulted by Hijazi.

The 37-year-old's lawyers later claimed his comments were in the public interest because they revealed the true version of events.

READ: Syrian Interim Government slams regime's refugee conference as 'new trick'

However, the judge handling the case rejected his argument, saying Robinson had failed to respect the difference between his "subjective belief" and objective truth.

Judge Justice Nicklin was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying: "It is clear that [Robinson]'s public interest defence relies principally in his reasonably believing there to be a public interest in setting the record straight, through him allowing B to put forward his answer to the proposition that the viral video demonstrated a racially motivated attack on the claimant."

Nicklin also said there was a "complete lack of chronology" for Robinson's supposed investigations.

He added "the door is not finally closed" to a public interest defence but said Robinson would need to submit further details and evidence to stand up his arguments.

Nicklin summed-up saying: "In order to disclose a case with a real prospect of success, [Robinson] must make clear when the various interviews, and other steps upon which he places reliance, took place."

He also noted Robinson had failed to provide the names of the three children who claimed to be Hijazi's victims.

Nicklin also yesterday accepted amendments to Robinson's existing defence, which argues his claims were true, adds detail to allegations against Hijazi and cites three new incidents.

READ: Ex-judges call on UK PM Johnson and Patel to apologise for attack on immigration lawyers

Categories
Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSyriaUK
Show Comments
Show Comments