Charges have been dropped against three football fans who were facing prosecution for using the word “Yid”.
Gary Whybrow, 31, Sam Parsons, 24, and Peter Ditchman, 52, were all hauled before magistrates after allegedly using the language at Tottenham matches last autumn.
Today the Crown Prosecution Service said the words could not legally be counted as “threatening, abusive or insulting” in the circumstances.
Baljit Ubhey from the CPS said: “In accordance with our duty to keep all cases under review we have conducted a senior level review of this case.
“It has now been concluded that, according to the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and that the cases against Peter Ditchman, Gary Whybrow and Sam Parsons should be discontinued.
“In considering whether a criminal offence could be proved we have to look objectively at the words used, and the context in which they were used. As part of the review, the context of the use of the words alleged in this case was reconsidered, and we have decided that, although the same words used in other contexts could in theory satisfy the criteria for ‘threatening, abusive or insulting’, it is unlikely that a court would find that they were in the context of the three particular cases in question.
“We have therefore concluded that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. This decision has no bearing on any other cases that may be brought to our attention and all cases will be considered on their own facts and merits.”
The trio were accused of a public order offence for using the word. Mr Whybrow, from west London, and Mr Parsons, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, were charged after going to Tottenham’s Europa League match against FC Sheriff on November 7, while Mr Ditchman, from Bishop’s Stortford, allegedly used the language at the Tottenham game against West Ham on October 6.
Police had previously warned football fans not to use the word, which is used to refer to Tottenham fans and is regularly used in football chants.
For years Tottenham, who have a strong Jewish following, have been on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse from opposition fans.
In an act of defiance, some fans started using the word ”Yid” themselves, and chants of ”Yids”, ”Yid Army” and ”Yiddos” are regularly sung in the home stands at White Hart Lane.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he did not think Spurs fans should be charged for using the word, because it was not “motivated by hate”.