A top British judge stepped down from his position in a district court after he made “disgusting” comments, but has kept his position as an immigration tribunal judge, although he will see no more cases until an investigation is complete.
District Judge Peter Hollingworth was hearing a case of harassment brought by Deepa Patel, 22, against her former partner when he ordered Patel to be brought before him so he could complete sentencing, and close the case more quickly. When her lawyer, Rachel Parker told the judge the complainant was at work and may find getting the day off at short notice, Judge Hollingworth was unimpressed.
He told the court: “It won’t be a problem. She won’t be working anywhere important where she can’t get the time off. She’ll only be working in a shop or an off-licence.” He continued: “With a name like Patel, and her ethnic background, she won’t be working anywhere important.”
The prosecutor was apparently disturbed by the remark and withdrew, saying she was “professionally embarrassed”.
The Sun newspaper revealed that rather than working in a shop, Ms Patel was at “an office” during a “gap year”. She told the paper: “I was born and bred in this country. I went through school, college and then on to university to study law. It’s shocking and disgusting for anyone to say that, especially a judge.
“He’s the one deciding people’s freedom and he’s saying stuff like that — it’s ridiculous. You would assume people of this day and age, especially a judge, wouldn’t be racist.
“I’m more upset than angry, especially since I had already gone through so much by going to court – I was a victim of harassment, I didn’t even want to be there.
“I’m glad I wasn’t in the room — I don’t think I would have coped. It’s right that he’s resigned but it’s outrageous that he’s still an immigration judge. He needs to resign altogether”.
Patel’s ex-boyfriend Parvan Singh, 23, was jailed for 20 weeks for harassment. He had previously had a restraining order placed against him and a suspended sentence for beating Patel.
A Judicial Conduct Investigations Office spokesman said of the affair: “Judge Richard Terrence Peter Hollingworth has resigned as a deputy district judge. The president of the first-tier tribunal of the immigration and asylum chamber is considering the matter in accordance with the Judicial Conduct (Tribunals) Rules 2014.
“Any finding of misconduct and recommendation of disciplinary action made to the president will be subsequently handled by the JCIO in accordance with the rules. He remains a first-tier tribunal judge at the immigration and asylum chamber; however, he is currently refraining from all judicial duties”.