Syrian teenager suing Tommy Robinson for libel seeks up to £190,000 damages

A Syrian teenager who is suing Tommy Robinson for libel is seeking between £150,000 and £190,000 in damages from him.

A lawyer for Jamal Hijazi, who was filmed being attacked in a Huddersfield playground and had to flee the town after the far-right activist aired “entirely distorted anti-Muslim” claims about him, also said Robinson had continued during the libel trial to exacerbate distress caused to the family.

She made the comments during her closing submission at the end of a high court case in which Robinson is representing himself.

Footage of Hijazi being pushed to the ground and having water poured on his face was watched millions of times and attracted widespread condemnation, including from the then prime minister, Theresa May, in December 2018. A teenager was subsequently given a caution for common assault of Jamal.

However, after the video went viral, Robinson claimed in two videos on Facebook that Jamal was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”. The teenager denies the allegations.

Catrin Evans QC, representing Hijazi, called for “substantial damages” between £150,000 and £190,000 for the teenager if her client won the claim.

“In relation to the allegations, which the defendant has sought to prove as substantially true, we suggest that he has not proved either of them,” she told the court.

In her closing statement, Evans had argued Robinson suggested “that this is somehow a travesty of justice and that a white schoolboy has been scapegoated”.

There was a lack of evidence for the claims of Robinson, she said, adding: “We do rely on the defendant’s agenda, which we say is an anti-Muslim one, which is why he waded into this … Jamal was the victim of that.”

“Not only has the defendant sought to try and prove a case that he was never going to be able to do, but he has even, in his closing submissions, … continued to exacerbate the hurt and distress the claimant has experienced.”

Mr Justice Nicklin said that he would give his judgment at a later date.

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