A court has agreed to reinstate the racially/religiously aggravated element to charges against Abdullah Qureshi. The decision comes after Campaign Against Antisemitism and other groups applied pressure to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which had earlier dropped the hate element from the charges.
On 7th April, Mr Qureshi, 28, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates’ Court to one count of assault by beating and one count of grievous bodily harm with intent. The charges related to a series of assaults on 18th August 2021 in Stamford Hill in which five religious Jews in the North London neighbourhood were violently attacked.
Campaign Against Antisemitism then revealed that the CPS had dropped the racially/religiously aggravated element of those charges as part of a plea deal with Mr Qureshi. After we, Shomrim, CST and other communal organisations made representations to the CPS, it agreed to reinstate the aggravated elements, but Mr Qureshi appeared in court to resist the reinstatement of the aggravated element.
Explaining the reinstatement at court, the prosecutor said that these are “serious allegations” and that “the file was reviewed again and a decision was made to proceed with the offences.” However, counsel for Mr Qureshi argued that this submission should not be accepted, describing it as “ridiculous” and an “abuse of process”.
The CPS was instructed to provide its reasons in writing, with an opportunity for the defence to respond in writing, followed by a hearing in the summer.
That hearing took place today at Stratford Magistrates’ Court, where the court decided in favour of the reinstatement. There will now be a plea hearing later this month at Thames Magistrates’ Court.
In one incident at 18:41 on the day of the attacks last August, an Orthodox Jewish man was struck in the face with what appeared to be a bottle. In another at 19:10, a child was slapped on the back of the head, and in yet another at 20:30, a 64-year-old victim was struck and left unconscious on the ground, suffering facial injuries and a broken ankle. Two further incidents were also alleged.
The incidents received significant media attention at the time, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, condemned “this appalling attack,” adding: “Let me be clear, racist abuse and hate crime, including antisemitism, have absolutely no place in our city.”