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Man convicted of Antisemitic hate crime in Westminster

|News, Hate crime

A man who racially abused an anti-antisemitism activist after he refused to shake his hand has been convicted of a hate crime. 

Piers Portman, 50, called the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s CEO “Jewish scum” during the incident at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 June 2018. 

Portman and the victim had attended the court for the sentencing of Alison Chabloz who had written and performed antisemitic songs mocking the Holocaust on YouTube. Portman had attended the hearing in support of Chabloz while the victim had attended as part of his role in the Campaign Against Antisemitism. 

Outside the hearing Portman approached the victim, who did not know or recognise him, before aggressively verbally abusing him. Security were then called. 

Today (Tuesday, 7 September 2021) Portman was convicted of one count of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress following a trial at Southwark Crown Court. 

Sati Dhadda, from the CPS, said: “Antisemitism has no place in our society and will not be tolerated. 

“Piers Portman’s conduct was disgraceful and utterly unacceptable in a courthouse. No-one should be subjected to such abuse based on their race or religion. 

“During the trial the prosecution was able to present evidence from a previous email sent from Portman to the victim, which clearly demonstrated his hostility towards Jews. The victim also supported the prosecution and attended court to give evidence. He told jurors he had never encountered Portman before the incident and had been left shocked by it.

“I hope this conviction gives other victims of hate crime the courage to come forward in the knowledge that they will be supported through the criminal justice system.”

Crimes that are motivated wholly or partly by hostility or demonstrate hostility towards the victim of the offence based on that person's presumed race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability are eligible for an increased sentence. The CPS will be applying for a hate crime sentence uplift in this case.

Portman will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 22 October 2021.  

Notes to editors

  • Piers Portman (DOB: 30/05/1971) is from Marylebone in Westminster.  
  • Sati Dhadda is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Crown Court unit in CPS London South. 
  • The London South Crown Court unit is a dedicated team with lawyers skilfully prosecuting a range of cases including serious violence, firearms, drugs, fraud and modern slavery offences, working to secure justice and keeping communities safer. 
  • The London South Chief Crown Prosecutor Lionel Idan is the National Hate Crime Lead for the CPS. 

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