Lawyers for the Sheffield schoolgirls who were attacked on a bus on December 4 have demanded that South Yorkshire Police conduct a full and independent inquiry into the decision-making process which led to the attacker only being given a police caution.
Arshaid Bashir, of Adam Law Solicitors, represents Redana Al-Hadi (14) and Widad Al-Hadi (13) who were subjected to what appears to have been a racially and religiously motivated attack by a 40 year woman and a 44 year old man.
The video of the incident, during which Redana Al-Hadi suffered serious injuries, went viral on social media. She suffered a fractured cheekbone and a bloody eye while her sister sustained bruising to the inside of her leg.
Both girls told 5Pillars that their assailants should be prosecuted and go to jail.
In a letter to Chief Constable Stephen Watson of South Yorkshire Police, Arshaid Bashir wrote: “It is of particular concern that the assault was motivated by religious and racial hatred and thereby adds to fears of a section of our society that has seen a sustained rise in racially motivated and Islamophobic incidents.
“In the particular circumstances the incident has occasioned profound and potentially lasting damage to our clients and caused concern in the wider community.
“Accordingly, it is difficult to understand how and why it was considered appropriate by the police to caution one of the assailants when the CCTV/Video recordings of the incident constituted graphic and compelling evidence of the gravity of the incident.”
The letter went onto say that the police failed to make reasonable enquiries by taking statements from the victims before deciding to issue a caution; and that they had failed to properly investigate a hate crime.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said enquiries into the incident were ongoing.
The spokesperson added: “The investigation is also currently undergoing a full review. This will include revisiting and speaking to witnesses. Officers remain in contact with the victim and her family and are keeping them updated.
“A 40-year-old woman, arrested at the scene, has been given a caution for assault, while a 44-year-old man remains on police bail as enquiries continue.
“Anyone with information, or who holds footage of the incident, is asked to call 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting incident number 601 of December 4.”