Tommy Robinson sued for £100,000 damages by Syrian refugee boy over Huddersfield comments
Fresh legal action comes as anti-Islam activist runs as MEP and faces jail in separate case
Papers lodged at the High Court on Wednesday accuse the anti-Islam activist, who is standing as an MEP candidate, of falsely accusing 16-year-old Jamal Hijazi of attacking white girls.
The teenager’s family are seeking £100,000 in damages in the case, and Robinson would also be forced to pay substantial legal costs if he loses.
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer representing Jamal, told The Independent Robinson has been given a deadline to reply to the allegations ahead of a hearing at the High Court.
“The action is for defamation, particularly to do with statements Robinson made in November last year through Facebook on video,” he added. “That was to do with his suggestion Jamal was involved with a gang that attacked some girls.”
Jamal’s legal representatives allege that Robinson’s social media posts caused the teenager to become “the focus of countless messages of hate and threats from the extreme right wing”, and sparked a police safety warning.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is standing as an MEP candidate for northwest England while facing fresh contempt of court proceedings at the Old Bailey that could see him jailed for up to two years.
Earlier this year, he was ordered to pay £20,000 in costs after losing another court case accusing police of discrimination and harassment.
A legal letter from Jamal’s lawyers was delivered to Robinson’s family home in March, prompting the activist to visit the home of Independent columnist Mike Stuchbery in the middle of the night.
Mr Stuchbery was among campaigners who helped raise £10,300 in crowdfunding for the legal action against Robinson.
The anti-Islam activist saw the “donate” button removed from his Facebook page following the incident and has since been deleted from the social network.
His posts and videos included claims that Jamal was part of a gang that attacked white girls, and that “lots of Muslim gangs are beating up white English kids” in Britain.
Robinson posted a screenshot of a message from a mother claiming her daughter had been bullied at the same school, but the woman later wrote on Facebook that Jamal was not the attacker.
One of the photos used by the English Defence League founder as supposed proof of violence at Almondbury Community School was stolen from a 2017 news article on a teenage cancer patient from Surrey.
Robinson’s page had more than 1 million followers and the posts on the Huddersfield incident were viewed up to 900,000 times each.
A video showed Jamal being forced to the floor by another boy who said “I’ll drown you” while forcing water from a bottle into the victim’s mouth.
As the incident attracted massive media attention last year, the perpetrator gave The Sun a handwritten statement in which he accepted responsibility for his actions, but denied bullying the younger boy.
The teenager said he and his family had gone into hiding and gave an interview to Robinson saying he was “scared for my life, scared for my family’s life”.
The suspect had shared numerous posts from Robinson’s Facebook account in the months before the incident, as well as from Britain First and other right-wing accounts.
Robinson’s legal representatives have not responded to The Independent’s request for comment.