Tommy Robinson loses latest court battle with teen Syrian refugee he accused of bullying
Tommy Robinson has been accused of libel (Image: PA)
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Tommy Robinson has lost his latest court battle with a teenage Syrian refugee.
The former English Defence League leader, real name Stephen-Yaxley Lennon, claimed that Jamal Hijazi had been violent towards a girl at his school.
His comments came after a video of the then 16-year-old being pushed to the ground and threatened with drowning, began to circulate online in November 2018.
Robinson, 37, claimed Jamal was "not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school" in a video posted onto Facebook.
He also made allegations that Jamal "threatened to stab" another boy at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
Jamal strenuously denies the allegations and has brought a libel claim against Robinson.
The former EDL leader cannot make a public interest defence, a judge ruled
The political activist is relying on a defence of truth, but amended his defence in June to argue that his remarks were made in the public interest.
Today the public interest defence was struck out by Mr Justice Nicklin.
He claimed the video of the attack was published and a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to present a false image of Jamal for financial gain.
Robinson's lawyers said Jamal "had a financial interest in misrepresenting the playing ground incident as one of the racist bullying of a refugee, in order to maximise his income from the GoFundMe page", adding the teenager may have alternatively been used by others to raise the funds.
Robinson made his comments after a video taken at Almondbury School in Huddersfield circulated
They also argued that no attempt had been made to obtain the side of the story from the then-15-year-old boy who pushed Jamal in the footage.
Robinson claimed to have contacted and met the boy, known as B, and met with three parents of children who had allegedly been physically assaulted – in one case bitten – and verbally abused by Jamal.
He said it was in the public interest for B's version of events to be publicised and to challenge the wider perception of the incident, as there was "far more to the story".
But in a judgment handed down remotely on Monday, Mr Justice Nicklin rejected Robinson's public interest application.
The video showed Jamal being attacked
He said: "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 said Robinson's argument had not respected the difference between his "subjective belief" and objective truth.
Lawyers for Jamal argued the video of the attack was uploaded on November 27, with Robinson's comments published on November 28 and 29 respectively, giving him limited time to conduct his alleged investigations.
Jamal has denied Robinson's claims
(Image: Dan Rowlands / SWNS.com)
The judge said there was a "complete absence of chronology" in when the interviews occurred, adding Robinson has still failed to provide the names of the people alleging Jamal had been violent to them.
Mr Justice Nicklin said: "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 added "the door is not finally closed" to a public interest defence because if Robinson submits a more detailed application with a suitable explanation for the delay, it will be considered.
The judge accepted amendments to Robinson's existing defence of truth, where the 37-year-old added further details to allegations of violence by Jamal as well as three new incidents, which will be tested at trial.