The two brothers, who pleaded not guilty, were given a twelve-month Youth Rehabilitation Order and sentenced to an electronically-monitored curfew from 6:00 to 18:00 for just 30 days, as well as a victim surcharge of £21 each. They were also both ordered to attend a ten-day Diversity Awareness Programme.
The brothers — who are aged fifteen and sixteen and cannot be named for legal reasons — were said to have shouted “f*** Jews” and “dirty Jew” during the attack, which took place at approximately 21:45 on Friday 29th November as the rabbi walked along Amhurst Park in Stamford Hill. The assailants ran off laughing.
The incident took place during the Jewish Sabbath, when Orthodox Jews do not use telephones, but the incident was reported to the police and Stamford Hill Shomrim, a volunteer Jewish neighbourhood watch patrol.
The 54-year-old victim, a senior rabbi, was visiting Stamford Hill from Israel for a wedding and was left shaken after the attack, with an injured back and a bleeding finger. He immediately left the UK.
The suspects were charged in December and convicted last month with racially aggravated common assault at Stratford Magistrates’ Court on 25th June following a two-day hearing. Sentencing took place today at Stratford Youth Court.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had applied for a longer sentence, as the attack was racially motivated. A spokesperson said at the time of the convictions that “this was an unprovoked and despicable act against a Jewish man who was holidaying in the UK. He was clearly targeted in this hate crime and should not have been subjected to such behaviour in our society,” adding that “I hope these convictions provide the victim with some closure and show just how seriously the CPS takes hate crime, which has a corrosive effect on our society and will be prosecuted robustly.”
Detective Constable Matthew Cooksey of the Metropolitan Police has now said: “Hate crime is not tolerated and we take such offences extremely seriously This incident highlights the efforts we are willing to take to track down suspects. It is upsetting that the boys refused to take responsibility for their crimes by pleading not guilty. I hope the conviction has given some sort of closure to the victim.”
However, it is difficult to square the claim of the police and CPS that antisemitic hate crime is taken seriously with the lenient sentence that the court handed down to the offenders, who did not even admit to the crime.
Stephen Silverman, the Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “This was an appalling violent attack on an innocent scholar visiting London, which left him not only with physical injuries but an impression of the UK that sadly our country is beginning to deserve. This failure of the British justice system shows once again that on the rare occasions when antisemites are prosecuted, they face dismally lenient sentences that would not deter anyone.”
“This pitiful sentence is a scandal and makes a mockery of justice. It is a betrayal of British Jews, sending the message that violent assaults motivated by anti-Jewish hatred are barely punished, and signals to victims of antisemitism that their attackers will not face justice. No wonder only a third of British Jews believe that the courts do enough to protect them, when sentences like this demonstrate that Jews do not receive justice in modern Britain. If the CPS means what it said about taking antisemitic crime seriously, it must go to the Crown Court to seek a tougher sentence.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.