UK far-right Tommy Robinson loses 'Syrian teenager' legal battle

UK far-right Tommy Robinson loses 'Syrian teenager' legal battle
The far-right campaigner has lost a crucial court battle with a Syrian teenager he is accused of bullying.
2 min read
17 November, 2020
Tommy Robinson is the founder of the EDL [Getty]
UK far-right activist Tommy Robinson has lost a court case against a Syrian teenager he is accused of bullying, according to media reports.

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has been accused of libel after making a series of videos alleging that a Syrian refugee teenager, who was the subject of a horrific videoed racially-motivated assault, was himself a bully.

The founder of the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL) has been taken to court by Jamal Hijazi of Huddersfield for libel, after Robinson accused him in a video of threatening another classmate and said he was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school".

The judge rejected Robinson's appeal that his comments were made "in the public interest" saying that he had failed to differentiate the difference between his "subjective belief" and the objective truth, when he posted the videos where he claimed Hijazi was a bully.

"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," the Judge Justice Nicklin said, according to The Daily Mirror.

Nicklin also said that Robinson had failed to provide a "complete absence of chronology" of the alleged bullying events or the names of the children who claimed to be victims of Hijazi.

The refugee's lawyers also argued that the short space between the assault on Hijazi and Lennon's videos - just one and two days - gave the EDL founder only limited time to conduct a proper and fair investigation into the claims that the Syrian refugee bullied other schoolchildren.

"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," the judge said.

Hijazi strongly denies the claims of bullying and launched a libel case against Lennon.

Robinson founded the EDL in 2009, which he claimed was started to protest "radical Islamism" but whose actions have been blamed for escalating hate crimes against Muslims in the UK.

In 2013, Robinson left the EDL claiming his decision was motivated by the "dangers of far-right extremism", but since then he has been involved in other controversial activism.

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