Monday, 24 May 2010

Open Letter: Condemnation of racial prejudice in our judicial system

> Dear All,
> Please consider signing the open letter below the body of this e-
> mail; it seeks to condemn the racist comments of a judge in a recent
> court case. Reply to me if you are happy to do so.
> Some of the signatories so far (in no particular order):
> Wes Streeting - NUS President
> Aaron Porter - NUS President-elect
> Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy - NUS Black Students Officer
> Ian Grigg Spall (National Critical Lawyers Group - Academic Chair)
> Jesse Fajemisin - Goldsmiths SU President
> Lee Jasper - National Black Alliance
> Bindz Patel - Goldsmiths SU President-elect
> James Haywood - NUS National Executive
> Gerry Morrisey - BECTU General Secretary
> Nizam Uddin - ULU President
> Clare Solomon - ULU President-elect
> Mazdak Alizadeh - ULU Vice-President
> Aled Dilwyn Fisher - LSE SU General Secretary
> Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang - LSE Education and Welfare Officer
> Sinead Brenan - Reading SU President
> NB: An editor from the Guardian has said they'd be willing to touch
> on it in their diary column with a brief update on latest
> signatories if I could get a list to them asap.
> Many thanks in advance,
> Jesse Fajemisin
> President
> Goldsmiths Students' Union
> Open Letter: Condemnation of Racial Prejudice in our judicial system
> To:
> Sheridan Greenland OBE - Head of the Office for Judicial Complaints
> Nicholas Green QC - Chairman of the Bar Council
> On Friday 14th May, the Metro reported on two Icelandic women being
> sentenced for conspiracy to rob ( It was
> reported that Recorder Robin Pearse-Wheatley stated the following in
> his
> sentencing:
> "You seem to have a fatal attraction for the very worst elements of
> London
> society. You seem to have fallen in with a group of black men which
> seems
> to have been the beginning of your unfortunate adventures".
> This racist judgement is based on colour, is deeply offensive and
> damaging
> to black people, and perpetuates negative stereotypes that will do
> nothing
> to help fight the discrimination that can still be seen in wider
> society.
> Given the power Mr Pearse-Wheatley's position holds, and the effect of
> judicial decisions on wider society, his comments are dangerously
> irresponsible. In light of the principles of natural justice, they
> raise
> serious questions about his ability to adjudicate cases involving
> black or
> ethnic minorities.
> The Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard reported on the
> same case, but omitted the word "black" from any of the recorder's
> statement, which meant their reports didn't include the racism.
> We, the undersigned, condemn Mr Pearse-Wheatley's racist comments
> and hope
> that any complaints will be treated with the seriousness that they
> require. We also condemn the press publications that omitted the
> racism
> from their report, and believe that discrimination should be
> highlighted
> and tackled in order to achieve progressive change.
> NB: The Metro's quotation does not contain an error, I contacted
> them and
> they have stressed on several occasions that they "would not have
> published such a quotation without being satisfied of its veracity".
> The
> Guardian editor also spoke to Central News Agency, who distributed the
> report from court to the various press publications.

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