Far right activist Tommy Robinson was today convicted of libel in a London court over his false claim that a Syrian child filmed being bullied was himself a violent aggressor. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, was ordered to pay £100,000 to Jamal Hijazi.
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. 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 … 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."
After footage of Hijazi, then 14, being abused went viral, Yaxley-Lennon claimed the boy was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school", and that he "beat a girl black and blue" and "threatened to stab" another boy at his school.
Yaxley-Lennon's defense was that these claims were true but, representing himself in court, was unable to substantiate them. He did, however, call the bully filmed abusing Hijazi to court to say he was justified in doing so.
While libel claims in English courts are biased grossly against defendants—Yaxley-Lennon effectively had to prove his own innocence—Hijazi himself pointed out that what was claimed could not possibly be true.
Under cross-examination by Robinson, Jamal denied a series of allegations that were put to him. He said a claim that he had hit a girl with a hockey stick could not have occurred because boys and girls did sports separately.