A judge has resigned after he allegedly told a court in Lancashire that a victim of crime “won’t be working anywhere important” because her surname is Patel.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it made an official complaint about District Judge Richard Terrence Peter Hollingworth after his “inappropriate” comments about the harassment victim at Preston Magistrates’ Court.
He allegedly made the racist remark after the prosecution said 22-year-old Deepa Patel might struggle to attend Preston Magistrates’ Court at short notice for the sentencing of the defendant, the Sun on Sunday said.
He reportedly replied: “It won’t be a problem. She won’t be working anywhere important. She’ll only be working in a shop or an off licence.”
When the stunned prosecutor Rachel Parker asked him to clarify his comments he replied: “With a name like Patel, and her ethnic background, she won’t be working anywhere important.”
Ms Parker said she was “professionally embarrassed” after the incident in October and could no longer work on the case.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office confirmed that Judge Hollingworth has resigned as a district judge while his role as a first tier immigration judge is under review.
A spokesman said he is “currently refraining from all judicial duties”.
Ms Patel, a law student who lives in Preston, told The Sun on Sunday: “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.”
Ms Patel added that it was “outrageous” that he had not resigned altogether.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The Crown Prosecution Service raised concerns with HM Courts and Tribunals Service about comments made by Judge Hollingworth about a witness in Preston Magistrates’ court on 30 October 2014 which we considered to be inappropriate.”
A statement from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said: “The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) can confirm that Judge Richard Terrence Peter Hollingworth has resigned as a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates Court).
“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 currently remains a first-tier tribunal judge at the Immigration and asylum chamber; however, he is currently refraining from all judicial duties.”