The anti-Islam militant Tommy Robinson lost a defamation case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being assaulted at school.
The English Defense League founder, whosereal name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after an incident at a schoolyard in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.
Soon after video of the incident went viral, Robinson falsely claimed in Facebook videos seen by nearly a million of people that Hijazi was "not innocent and that he violently attacks young English girls in his school ".
He also claimed that Hijazi, now 18, "beat a black and blue girl " and "threatened to stab " another boy in his school, allegations the teenager denies.
In a High Court judgment Thursday, Judge Matthew Nicklin said the consequences of the lies of Robinson had been "particularly serious " to Hijazi, to whom he awarded £ 100,000 in damages.
The judgestated that Robinson called Hijazi a "violent assailant " in the playground incident when he was in fact the victim.
The activist used "calculated language to escalate the situation, " Nicklin said, which ultimately prompted Hijazi to drop out of school and force his family to flee their home.
The teenager received death threats after he became the target of the far right. Nicklin said the scars from the incident "likely lasted for many years, if not a lifetime ".
Hijazi's attorneys said t they were delighted to have been "fully vindicated ". Francesca Flood of Burlingtons Legal said: “It took a lot of courage for our client, Jamal Hijazi, to pursue his libel action against a far-right and anti-Islam activist as prominent as the better known Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. under the name ofby Tommy Robinson.
Robinson, who represented himself during the four-day trial, argued that his comments were essentially true, claiming to have "discovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceptive behavior "by Hijazi.
However, the judge ruled that Robinson had failed to prove each of his seven allegations and that "in reality ... his proof was terribly short.
The judgment leaves Robinson, who has once been financially supported by right-wing groups in the United States United facing a heavy financial penalty at a time when it claims to be bankrupt.
Robinson said he was "stunned " by the charges claimed by Hijazi's lawyers, which he said included £ 70,000 for taki from witness statements. He added: "I have no money. I am bankrupt. I struggled a lot with my own problems over the past 12 months ... I didn 't understand. "
Nicklin acknowledged that there were " limits on what can be applied against him "as a result of Robinson's bankruptcy, but decided that he should pay Hijazi 's legal costs, which were not declared in court.
Robinson remains one of the highest-profile right-wing activists despite being banned from major social networks and plagued by legal problems. Luton has already received hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations from rich international donors also like ordinary supporters.
The judge said he did not believe than the filmed attack on Hijazi was racially motivated. Bailey McLaren, the boy seen attacking Hijazi in the clip, had been "catapulted into the maelstrom of a media storm " and was also a victim of the affair, Nicklin said.
He added: "Under such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Bailey viewed the accused as some kind of savior; someone who was ready to help him in what must have been a low and very frightening point in his life. Looking back and coming of age, Bailey might still wonder if he was really helped by the accused. "