Racist 'sorry' to victim

A 20-year-old man who held a lighter to the face of a 12-year-old Jewish boy and told his friends to "get to the gas chambers" has been made to apologise to the victim, via the Community Security Trust.

The incident occurred as a group of Jewish boys played on a new sports pitch in Prestwich, north Manchester, last Monday evening, and were approached by five young men.

Police, working with the CST, used restorative justice (RJ) to deal with the incident. It is one of the first uses of the scheme since Manchester police launched an RJ partnership with the CST in April. RJ allows victims to explain the impact of hate crimes to offenders, who avoid a court appearance if they participate.

The mother of the 12-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was unsure about the benefits of RJ but did not want to confront the man, who, she said, had made Heil Hitler salutes to her son.

She said: "I didn't go through RJ myself. The CST did it. It involved them speaking to the fellow and getting him to apologise, and that was about it. I don't know how much good it did. I'm not convinced, because he is going to say he is sorry to save his back. It won't stop antisemitism. Everyone will say sorry if pulled up by the police."

    Last updated: 1:37pm, June 30 2011