Assailants of London Rabbi Sentenced
July 23, 2020
An anti-Semitic incident in the UK from last November is back in the headlines after two teenage suspects were convicted and sentenced for an aggravated assault on a rabbi.
On the night of November 29th, 2019, a 54-year old rabbi was assaulted in a park in Hackney, London by two teenage males. According to the Evening Standard, the rabbi was both physically assaulted and confronted with anti-Semitic slurs. The two teenagers, ages 15 and 16 respectively, both pleaded not guilty to the charge of aggravated assault. Nonetheless, they were found to be guilty and sentenced on July 21st.
Soon after the incident, police had struggled to both track down the victim and identify the perpetrators. After it was discovered that the victim (the rabbi) had left the country on a pre-planned trip, the Evening Standard reported that police made contact with him two weeks later and learned the full details of the incident. Metropolitan Police then launched a campaign to spread CCTV video and images across the media to recruit the public’s help in identifying the perpetrators. About two weeks later, the two teenagers presented themselves at an East London police station where they were arrested.
Detective Constable Matthew Cooksey acknowledged the great lengths which his department went through to bring a resolution to this case. He told the Evening Standard, “Hate crime is not tolerated and we take such offenses extremely seriously. This incident highlights the efforts we are willing to take to track down suspects.” The efforts resulted in a sentence of 12 months of youth rehabilitation, an electronically monitored curfew between the hours of 6pm and 6am for the next 30 days, and a nominal fine. Both convicted teenagers were also ordered to attend a 10-day Diversity Awareness Program.
Despite the success of his investigation, Detective Cooksey expressed dismay at the decision of the teenagers to initially plead not guilty. He said, “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.”
While the rabbi is not identified, and thus not available for comment, the persistence of this investigation should instill confidence that the Metropolitan Police Department takes incidents of anti-Semitism seriously.