Lawyers

Council cease utilizing lawyer who referred to as black pupil ‘stroppy teenager of color’

A LAWYER who represented the city council in a High Court fight with a street-homeless ex-asylum-seeker is at the centre of a race-row.

Brighton and Hove City Council said it has “immediately” withdrawn instructions from lawyer Jon Holbrook after a series of Twitter posts came to light.

The senior barrister tweeted that the Equality Act was “empowering the stroppy teenager of colour” in response to the story of a pupil who was sent home from school because of her Afro hair.

Mr Holbrook represented the city council in a successful battle to refuse a destitute street homeless ex-asylum seeker accommodation, despite having an “everyone-in” policy to rough sleeping.

The Argus: Jon Holbrook Credit: Unlocked YouTubeJon Holbrook Credit: Unlocked YouTube

A council spokesman said: “The council immediately withdrew instructions from Jon Holbrook when we became aware of his social media posts.

“We made clear to his chambers our concerns and that we would not be using him again.”

Mr Holbrook was commenting on the case of Ruby Williams, who was awarded an £8,500 discrimination pay-out following an Equality Act case against her school.

The school claimed the girl’s natural Afro broke their school uniform policy.

The Argus: Ruby Williams Credit: BBCRuby Williams Credit: BBC

Retweeting a video about the case by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, he said: “The Equality Act undermines school discipline by empowering the stroppy teenager of colour.”

Cornerstone Barristers, where Mr Holbrook works, tweeted: “Late on January 21, the management of Cornerstone Barristers became aware of a tweet made from the personal Twitter account of one of our members, Jon Holbrook.

“We want to make it very clear that Cornerstone Barristers repudiates the contents of the tweet and all that it insinuates.

“The contents of the tweet do not in any way reflect the views of Cornerstone Barristers.

“The individual has been asked to delete the tweet immediately and permanently and we are undertaking an urgent internal investigation into the matter.

“We unequivocally condemn discrimination in all of its forms and are proud of our record as a diverse chambers which promotes social mobility at the bar.

“We are fully committed to equality, diversity and tolerance.”

Mr Holbrook is also under fire from people online over a social media post about LGBT issues.

In response to a tweet from the Bar Standards Board which expressed support of a London Pride event, Mr Holbrook said: “It’s wrong for the regulator of barristers to be supporting a celebration of LGBT lifestyle.

“Regulators should be impartial and avoid controversy.

“Does the bar not welcome: Social conservatives, some Xstians/Muslims etc, or those who don’t believe in celebrating lifestyle?”

The Argus has contacted Mr Holbrook for comment.

Mr Holbrook has spoken about issues on a wide range of social media platforms. 

In December, he appeared on YouTube channel Brexit Unlocked to criticise Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

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