UK

Far-right activist decision to be re-examined by CPS

The Cenotaph in Whitehall Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeremy Bedford-Turner delivered a speech at London's Cenotaph war memorial in 2015

A decision not to prosecute a far-right activist with links to Nazi sympathisers is to be re-examined, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Campaigners called for action against Jeremy Bedford-Turner after a speech at London's Cenotaph in 2015 was filmed.

A judicial review of the CPS decision not to charge him with incitement to racial or religious hatred, and its refusal for a review, was to be held.

The CPS says it had new advice about its original decision-making process.

According to a transcript of the video of the speech, Mr Bedford-Turner told his followers, among other things, that the French Revolution and both world wars were massacres perpetrated by Jews, and demanded: "Let's free England from Jewish control."

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) says its chairman, Gideon Falter, witnessed the July 2015 speech.

It says he applied for a Victims' Right to Review after the original decision five months later not to bring action against Mr Bedford-Turner, but was "told by the CPS that he was not a victim".

It added: "Faced with no alternative, CAA took the unusual step of issuing judicial review proceedings to submit the CPS decision to the scrutiny of the High Court."

Human rights issues

It says the CAA was partly motivated by a "growing concern that the CPS is failing to take anti-Semitic crime seriously".

The CPS says its move is connected to the way human rights issues related to its decision.

But it stressed it "isn't an acceptance that the decision not to prosecute was wrong, but that there is a reasonable basis on which to review that decision".

A spokesman added: "We have agreed that the prosecutor's original decision not to charge should be reviewed by a more senior lawyer within the CPS.

"This decision follows the receipt of new advice from counsel concerning the way in which ECHR (European Court of Human Rights] issues were considered as part of the decision making in December 2015."

He added: "Tackling hate crime is a priority for the CPS. In 2015-16 we prosecuted a record number of cases and made sure that more offenders than ever before had their sentences increased for crimes relating to race or religion.

"We work closely with leading organisations from the Jewish community to ensure that prosecutors are aware of the changing nature of anti-Semitism in the UK."