Lawyer Shyster wins record Â£600,000 race claim payout from CPS
An Asian lawyer who was suspended after telling a court security guard she was a “friend of Bin Laden’s” has received a record Â£600,000 payout from the Crown Prosecution Service after seven years of legal battle over a race claim.
Halima Aziz, 43, made the remark a fortnight after the September 11 attacks, and was suspended by the CPS following a complaint from the court. She was accused of inciting a riot, expressing anti-American sentiments and associating herself with Bin Laden.
She won a race and sex discrimination case against them in 2004 on grounds that if she had been a white man she would not have been treated that way.
Orwell sends his regards:
The dispute continued for seven years – at a cost of more than a million pounds to the taxpayer – because the CPS had remained “in a state of denial” about the case, a new tribunal has ruled.
Its ruling said that the behaviour of the CPS had been “astonishing”.
The tribunal found that an inquiry into the incident run by the Chief Executive of the CPS, Peter Lewis, was a “whitewash”.
Mark Emery, Miss Aziz’s lawyer, last night called for a further, independent investigation and questioned the CPS’s ability to prosecute race cases.
Ms Aziz said: “If they (the CPS) had apologised to me right at the beginning words would have been enough.”
The controversy started in 2001 when a security guard at Bradford magistrates court made a comment about her being a “security risk”. Miss Aziz allegedly replied: “I’m a friend of Bin Laden’s.” As news of the remark spread, reports claimed that it had provoked clashes between white and Asian youths at the court building.
In fact, no such disturbance was found to have occurred. Miss Aziz was called to a disciplinary hearing – but her employer had not told her that she was entitled to be represented, and had relied on hearsay rather than carrying out proper enquiries.
It triggered a nine-day tribunal, spread over 13 months, which ruled Miss Aziz had been discriminated against on grounds of her race. Her suspension was extreme and had caused her “humiliation and distress.”
The CPS appealed and the ruling was overturned by an Employment Appeal Tribunal. But two years ago the Court of Appeal quashed that decision and restored the original ruling.
Yesterday it emerged the employment tribunal had awarded Miss Aziz compensation of around Â£600,000, according to Channel 4 News, after declaring there was not “a shred of evidence” to support her treatment.
The CPS has been ordered to issue a full and unequivocal apology and to reinstate Miss Aziz.
The CPS has issued a statement stating: “We offer a full apology to Halima Aziz. ….the Judgement relates solely to the very particular circumstances of this one case. It does not question the overall approach and policies the CPS has pursued”.
It added: “The CPS takes equality and diversity very seriously, both in relation to its employees and the public. Our positive progress since 2001 has been recognised by a number of outside bodies.”