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Author Topic: Teachers criticise judge for 'trivialising' racial abuse  (Read 4688 times)
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« on: April 08, 2006, 03:04:04 PM »,,1749233,00.html

A judge who attacked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pursuing a case against a 10-year-old boy who was accused of shouting racist taunts in the playground has been criticised for trivialising the seriousness of racial abuse.

The boy appeared before Judge Jonathon Finestein at Salford youth court after allegedly calling an 11-year-old boy a "Paki" and "bin Laden" last year.

The boy, from Irlam, Manchester, is also said to have chanted: "He is on the run, pull the trigger and shoot the nigger, five, four, three, two, one."

However, Justice Finestein said the case should not have reached the courts and described the decision to prosecute as "political correctness gone mad".

He said they were just "boys in the playground" and he used to be called "fat" at school but said the headteacher would have just given the children "a good clouting" and sent them on their way.

Justice Finestein's comments have prompted criticism from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

Chris Keates, the general secretary, said: "The judge had every right to question whether there were other ways of dealing with the incident. He was wrong to do so in a manner which trivialised racist taunts and abuse.

"Judges have a responsibility to consider the potential impact of their comments. Relegating an incident of what appears to have been repeated abuse to the level of a playground spat is unacceptable.

"The timing of his remarks is particularly unfortunate. The local elections are imminent. Candidates from the extreme right are being fielded in many cities. Comments, which dismiss racial abuse as 'political correctness gone mad' simply feed the pernicious agenda of extremists."

Justice Finestein said: "Nobody is more against racist abuse than me but these are boys in a playground, this is nonsense. I shouldn't think he understands Bin Laden or al-Qaida.

"I'm not condoning what he supposedly said but there must be other ways of dealing with this apart from criminal prosecution."

Justice Finestein ordered that the boy remain on summons and adjourned the case until April 20, to enable the CPS to decide whether it is in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.
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