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UK: Judge quits after racist slur against woman

Latest research has shown that second and third generation Britons of Indian origin are flourishing in all professions, but some continue to hold the stereotypical view of Indians merely as owners of corner grocery or off-licence liquor shops — as a judge remarked in court, to his peril.

world Updated: Dec 08, 2014 02:07 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Britons

Latest research has shown that second and third generation Britons of Indian origin are flourishing in all professions, but some continue to hold the stereotypical view of Indians merely as owners of corner grocery or off-licence liquor shops — as a judge remarked in court, to his peril.

Many of the earlier generation of immigrants from south Asia made a living by opening corner shops, including the large Gujarati community in places such as Birmingham and London, leading to a much criticised stereotype in popular discourse.

Children of these earlier immigrants have since entered various professions, such as medicine, law, economy and the civil service, and their achievements are often hailed by the PM and others, while the number of family-run corner shops have declined.

However, during a court hearing in Preston, north England, immigration judge Peter Hollingworth shocked many by making the stereotypical and racist comment about a harassment victim named Miss Patel, which has since led to his resigning and facing a probe.

During the hearing in October, he dropped the bombshell while asking a prosecution team if it could bring forward the case against one Mr Singh who was accused of bombarding Miss Patel with texts and threats.

He was told it was not possible to hear it on that day as it was not listed and because Miss Patel was not in court. Justice Hollingworth, 63, said: “She can’t be doing anything important….With a name like Patel she can only be working in a corner shop or off licence.”

Miss Patel has since refused to have the trial overseen by Hollingworth.

The Crown Prosecution Service said, “The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office can confirm that Judge Richard Terrence Peter Hollingworth has resigned as a deputy district judge. Any finding of misconduct and recommendation of disciplinary action... will be subsequently handled by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office in accordance with the rules. He currently remains a first-tier tribunal judge at the Immigration and Asylum Chamber; however, he is currently refraining from all judicial duties.”