August 23rd 2019

When video footage of a group of people burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower, complete with brown and Muslim figures at windows and babies floating out of it became public, the bereaved and survivors and communities across the country were truly horrified- it was not just the mocking laughter that accompanied the burning of the effigy that shocked but the fact that this was considered an appropriate way to celebrate bonfire night.

Paul Bussetti was charged but surprisingly cleared on Thursday in the Magistrate’s court of distributing grossly offensive material.

The chief magistrate of England and Wales, Emma Arbuthnot described the handling of the case against Paul Bussetti as “appalling” after ‘new’ evidence was disclosed by the Crown Prosecution service (CPS) to the defence shortly before she was retiring to consider her verdict.

This is certainly a shocking and appalling situation. That a blatant racist act like this can be swept under the carpet in 2019 is a serious indictment and blight on our society. Some 20 years after the Lawrence Inquiry recognised the issue of ‘institutional racism’ and the Crown Prosecution Service introduced a racist and religious hate crime prosecution policy- a case like this should have secured a conviction. The CPS has recently gained a poor reputation for late or non-disclosure of evidence in cases – especially where the victim and witnesses are vulnerable and or traumatised. The impact can be seen as rendering the rule of law as useless if it fails to meet the needs of those who need the most protection. Who are prosecution policies meant to protect? At best, it seems to be protecting the very suspects it is meant to convict!!!