*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.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.