Edward Malnick, The Telegraph, November 12, 2023
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has disbanded an advisory panel on hate crimes after the new director of public prosecutions concluded it had lost “public confidence”.
The CPS suggested that the panel of community representatives that identify “learning points” for prosecutors and police no longer had “public confidence” and “has now been dissolved”.
In a statement to The Sunday Telegraph, a CPS spokesman said: “Hate crime scrutiny panels must command public confidence and this panel, which was already due to be reviewed, has now been dissolved. We look forward to taking on new advisory members in the near future.”
The decision was taken 10 days after Stephen Parkinson took over at the helm of the CPS, as the new director of public prosecutions. He replaced Max Hill, who insisted last month that calling for jihad is not automatically a criminal offence.
A Government source said: “The new DPP is right to clean house. Strong action and a fresh start is exactly what’s needed to ensure something like this never happens again.”
The disbanding of the panel comes amid mounting concern about the views held and espoused by some influential advisers to the CPS and police.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police said it had ceased taking advice from Attiq Malik, a hard-Left activist, after The Telegraph revealed footage of him leading chants of “from the river to the sea” and railing against “global censorship by the Zionists”.
One of the panel’s members was Mohammed Kozbar, whom peers were told last month had publicly praised Hamas’s founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2015 as “the master of the martyrs of the resistance”. Ministers have expressed concern that police and prosecutors were failing to effectively tackle hate crimes emerging.
In response to questions from this newspaper, Mr Kozbar claimed that he was being subjected to “repeated attempts to smear me as I pursue work to foster better community relations.”
He said: “I condemn the targeting of all civilians, whoever they are. It is criminal to indiscriminately murder innocent men, women, and children.”
He supports “the Palestinian people and their quest for freedom, as clearly expressed as a basic right within international law”.
Addressing his comments about Yasin, Mr Kozbar said: “I spoke on the extrajudicial assassination of a paraplegic man who was wheelchair-bound. His execution, through an air strike, drew condemnation from the international community including the then United Nations Secretary General.
“My comments were made in that context and well before this organisation was proscribed.”
He continued: “The current Israel-Palestine conflict is descending into an information war which is polarising communities. My singular focus is for a just peace in the region and, above all, an end to the violence. I am more interested in having good-faith conversations that support this objective and in conversations that diffuse tensions here in the UK.”