*Warning: The article contains screenshots of antisemitic abuse and offensive language.
A Chelsea fan who abused a Jewish journalist for reporting on antisemitism during matches at Stamford Bridge has been issued with a three-year restraining order.
Sam Mole, 20, sent antisemitic and homophobic messages to Dan Levene, including one wishing he would die and lamenting that he had not be murdered in the Holocaust.
The perpetrator was allowed to walk free from court last Thursday however, because he was on holiday in Australia at the time of the offence, and outside the jurisdiction of the law.
Two police forces came in for criticism, after they took six months between them to interview Mole, meaning he could not be investigated over harassment, as the time limit had elapsed. He was found not guilty of racially/religiously aggravated malicious communications instead.
The trainee teacher from Kettering, who reportedly expressed remorse, was given a three year restraining order, prohibiting him from contacting the Jewish journalist, and the London club is now investigating to see if any action will be taken.
Dan Levene, who reports about Chelsea and has been a vocal critic of racist chanting by its supporters, said: “The court was clear that Sam Mole’s actions were criminal but for a technicality, and this shows how victims of online hate crimes are not best served by the laws supposed to protect them. But had two police forces not tried so hard to pass the buck, it is clear this man would have been found guilty of a greater charge. This man targeted me because I shone a light on the appalling racist behaviour of some Chelsea fans, and I look forward to seeing the results of the club’s investigation into his behaviour.”
According to the Campaign Against Antisemitism, District Judge Nick Watson told Mole “the law prohibits me from punishing you”, but said the messages “undoubtedly caused deep offence” and it was “unpalatable” he “escaped the consequences of his actions”.
A spokesperson for Chelsea Football Club said: “Now that the criminal proceeding has concluded, Chelsea will conduct its own investigation of the incident to determine whether club action is appropriate.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism said the result was “an appalling blunder by the police. The result is that a defendant who broke the law and should have been punished has escaped justice. We will be raising this failure with the police forces in question and have contacted Chelsea to ask that the perpetrator be excluded from matches.”
In January 2018, Chelsea Football Club launched its ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ campaign, raising awareness about racism in sport.
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