Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued for libel following remarks about Syrian schoolboy Jamal Hijazi (Image: PA)

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Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at school.

The former English Defence League leader, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Syrian schoolboy Jamal Hijazi, who was pushed to the ground and threatened with drowning at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.

A video of the incident provoked outrage after it went viral in November 2018, but Robinson claimed Jamal was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school".

At a four-day trial in April, Jamal’s lawyers said that Mr Robinson’s comments had “a devastating effect” on the schoolboy and his family who had come to the UK as refugees from Homs, Syria.

Mr Robinson, who represented himself, argued his comments were substantially true, claiming to have “uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour” by Jamal.

However, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, Mr Justice Nicklin ruled in Jamal’s favour and granted him £100,000 in damages.

Jamal sued Robinson for libel, saying he had faced "death threats and extremist agitation".

Jamal Hijazi was filmed being attacked at a school in Huddersfield in 2018
(Image: Dan Rowlands /

On the first day of the libel trial, Jamal's lawyer told the court that Robinson's comments "turned Jamal into the aggressor, and the bully into a righteous white knight".

Catrin Evans QC, representing Jamal, said in written submissions that Robinson's allegations had "a devastating effect on Jamal and his family" and led to them being relocated from the area in early 2019.

In his written statement, Jamal Hijazi, 17, said Robinson's "entirely distorted anti-Muslim message" made him feel "helpless".

He added: "I am not the person he says I am and I am bringing this claim to show the truth and who the real Jamal is.

"I am a positive person and always have been, I want to correct people's opinions who have just watched the video so that they know I am not the person the defendant says I am.

"It really upset me because the things he was saying were not true and he was not telling everybody how I actually am."

"I didn't feel like I could do anything to stop this and felt helpless as so many people had seen this and were posting comments about me even though I had never met them."

Ms Evans described Robinson as "a well-known extreme-right advocate with convictions for violence, as well as fraud and drug offences".

She added that Robinson falsely accused Jamal of threatening to stab another child and being part of a gang that assaulted a young girl.

The lawyer said he did so "without any direct knowledge of the events in question".

Ms Evans told the court that Jamal was bullied from shortly after he started at the school in October 2016, having come to the UK with his family as refugees from Homs in Syria.

She added: "The bullying, and the failure to do enough about it, culminated in 2018 in a series of incidents in the school, including serious threats made to Jamal."

Robinson, who represented himself at the trial, claimed his comments were substantially true.

Robinson defended himself at the trial after he was sued for libel
(Image: PA)

In written submissions, Robinson said he had "uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour by the claimant, including acts which speak the truth to the matters complained of".

Referring to the alleged "waterboarding" incident, Robinson added: "Not only was the claimant the bully and not the victim in this incident, he has subsequently been shown to be the aggressor on multiple occasions, indulging in violent and abusive behaviour."