Eight men have been awarded £24,000 compensation after a judge ruled they had been unlawfully discriminated against by being barred from entering a public house on London’s Holloway road.
London County Court heard how the manager of the JD Wetherspoon’s Coronet pub had advance warning of a meeting being held by a Gypsy and Traveller rights charity nearby. Anticipating drunken trouble he hired extra doormen for the night. When a group who had attended the conference were denied entry, including a police inspector, priest, a barrister, and a number of gypsies, they claim the doorman told them the pub was “not allowing travellers or people from the traveller conference to enter”, reports The Independent.
The ruling has laid down a significant precedent regarding the rights of landlords to deny entry to their premises. It has been hailed as a “seminal” development in Gypsy rights in the United Kingdom. Calling the landlord, who has died since the 2011 incident, a man who had acted “irrationally” to assume there would be trouble if he allowed the men to drink in his pub, the Judge said in his 91-page report: “It can be reduced to this crude proposition: whenever Irish Travellers and English Gypsies go to public houses, violent disorder is inevitable because that is how they behave.”
Praising the judgement, Yvonne MacNamara of the Traveller Movement charity said: “In this day and age it is outrageous that a national pub chain like JD Wetherspoons can carry out such a blatant act of discrimination against members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, their friends and colleagues.
“We hope Justice Hand’s decision will mark a sea change in the unacceptably high levels of discrimination these communities experience”.
Gypsy and Traveller rights has of late become an important cause for many in Europe, especially many Western European nations unaccustomed to large numbers of gypsies react to influxes of Roma migrants enabled by the border-less European Union. The United Nations only last week blasted France for it’s “racism problem”, citing its treatment of Muslims and Gypsies as areas of particular concern.