SOAS 'biter' acquitted of assault

By Jessica Elgot, January 24, 2012
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The alleged attack took place at SOAS's Israel Apartheid Week

The alleged attack took place at SOAS's Israel Apartheid Week

A PhD student who bit a pro-Israel campaigner on the cheek at SOAS Israel Apartheid Week has been acquitted of assault.

Mohamed Abdelkarim was accused of biting Dean Gold on the face during a tussle on March 20 last year, while Mr Gold was filming a man at the event who was making obscene remarks about the Holocaust. After Mr Abdelkarim knocked the camera out of Mr Gold's hand, both accused the other of throwing the first punch.

Mr Abdelkarim said the bite had been in self-defence, as he was immobilised by Mr Gold.

Both were originally charged with assault, but charges against Mr Gold were later dropped.

Three witnesses from the pro-Israeli campaign outside the university gave evidence, as did others attending the event.

District Judge James Henderson said political points of view of the witnesses had affected “what they saw and what how they interpreted it.”

But Kuwait-born Mr Abdelkarim, 44, a father-of-two and part time university lecturer, was “consistent and believable”, the judge said. He said: “I cannot be sure that Mr Abdelkarim was not acting in self-defence. The prosecution have not achieved that.”

A second charge of criminal damage to Mr Gold’s flip camera was also dismissed, as Judge Henderson said there was not proof cosmetic damage to the camera was not caused during the 10 months it was in police care.

Last updated: 6:45pm, January 24 2012