Anger over collapse of antisemitism case against West Ham fans

The CPS said it could not determine whether incident of alleged abuse against an Orthodox Jewish man took place in British airspace


The case against two West Ham supporters accused of racially abusing an Orthodox Jewish man has collapsed after the Crown Prosecution Service said it could not establish whether the incident took place in British airspace. 

A Campaign Against Antisemitism spokesperson said it was “beyond belief” that the potential culprits were now able to walk free.

Lee Carey, 55, and Jak Bruce, 31, were arrested in November of last year after a video emerged of football fans on a plane chanting “I’ve got a foreskin haven’t you, f***ing Jew” at a Charedi passenger. 

The clip also showed fans shouting anti-Tottenham chants at the visibly Jewish man who can be seen quietly making his way to his seat.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now said it cannot prove that the incident took place within their jurisdiction. 

In a statement, the agency said: “Following a careful review of all the available evidence, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove that the alleged offences took place in British airspace and therefore within remit of our courts. 

“The CPS takes racism, homophobia, and antisemitism in sport extremely seriously because of the devastating impact it has on victims and wider society.

“Where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest, we will prosecute these cases. We are working with sporting bodies and the police to advise them on the evidence required to build strong cases so that offenders can be brought to justice.”

When it emerged, the video of the abuse sparked outrage. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the individuals involved ought to face the “toughest possible action”.

She told the JC: “The video circulating on social media is absolutely appalling and there is no place in football or our country for this vile, racist, antisemitic abuse.”

West Ham manager David Moyes said: “We don’t want to be associated with supporters like this.”

A spokesperson for CAA said: “This incident was caught on video that went viral, with plenty of witnesses on the plane, including Ryanair cabin crew. 

“It is beyond belief that sufficient evidence cannot be amassed to establish jurisdiction and that potential culprits are free to go without sanction. 

“This is the third time in almost as many months that the CPS has dropped or reduced charges against suspects in high-profile antisemitic hate crime incidents, and members of the Jewish community are writing to us in indignation. 

“It is no wonder that our polling shows that a majority of British Jews do not believe that the CPS does enough to protect them. With regard to this case, we are exploring legal options to ensure that justice is done.”

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