Stamford Hill attacks on Jews were racially motivated, CPS admits, as charges changed

·2-min read
Abdullah Qureshi - Central News
Abdullah Qureshi - Central News

A Muslim man has been accused of carrying out racially motivated attacks against three Orthodox Jews after campaigners challenged the prosecution’s decision to drop the religiously aggravated element of the case.

Abdullah Qureshi, 29, had admitted a spate of assaults in Stamford Hill, north London, but denied targeting his victims because of their religion.

His pleas were initially accepted – but prosecutors have now admitted they made a mistake and have reinstated the part of the charge that alleges Mr Qureshi deliberately chose to attack Jewish people.

The incidents, reported by community organisation Schomrim, led to widespread concern among the Orthodox Jewish community in north London and prompted Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to condemn the "appalling" attacks.

Hit in the face with a bottle

One victim was struck in the side of the head, while another was hit in the face with a bottle.

Mr Qureshi, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, previously admitted grievous bodily harm and assault by beating at Thames Magistrates' Court in April.

But the decision to spare him race-hate charges prompted the Campaign Against Antisemitism to make representations to the Crown Prosecution Service, along with other organisations and Jewish leaders.

The CPS has now requested that the two charges of religiously aggravated GBH and religiously aggravated assault be reinstated against Mr Qureshi.

A third new charge relates to a religiously aggravated assault on a 16-year-old boy.

In a letter written to the court, Mr Qureshi alleged that the decision to change the offences to religiously aggravated was to “avoid serious complaint against the Crown Prosecution Service”.

'Need for fresh evidence'

He claimed “the behaviour on behalf of the Crown was manipulative”, given that it had previously discontinued the religiously aggravated element of the case by offering no evidence.

He wrote: “The court are essentially doing one thing and saying another. There should be fresh evidence.”

Shanta Deonarine, the district judge, ruled that this was not an abuse of process and said: “In my view there has been no manipulation. The defendant has not satisfied me on the balance of probabilities that there has been an abuse of process.”

Prosecutor David Matthew told the court: “The prosecution apologies for the error made earlier, there has been delay due to the prosecution's mistake which has now been put right.”

Mr Qureshi will next attend Thames Magistrates' Court on Aug 25 to enter his pleas in relation to the fresh charges against him.

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