THREE senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyers have been promoted, despite being named in evidence in a racial discrimination case against the CPS.
Judith Bermingham, Colin Chapman and John Bell have been appointed chief crown prosecutors (CCPs) for South Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Essex, respectively.
They are all named in evidence as part of a claim against the CPS for victimisation and race discrimination. A tribunal hearing is underway in Bedford, with Director of Public Prosecutions David Calvert-Smith due to be called to give evidence. The CPS denies any discrimination and is fighting the case vigorously.
Bermingham and Chapman sat on a promotion panel that turned down three black prosecutors for promotion to prosecution team leaders. Bell was assistant chief crown prosecutor at the time.
Maria Bamieh, one of the London prosecutors who is bringing the action, says: “I think it is an outrage they have been promoted when the tribunal proceedings are pending.
A CPS spokeswoman says: “It is inappropriate for us to comment on an ongoing case.”
None of the 42 newly created CCP posts have been handed to ethnic minority lawyers, even though 10 applied out of a total of 209. The CPS says 8 per cent of lawyers are from ethnic minorities. In London, the figure is 29 per cent.
The only black candidate to receive any appointment was Melanie Werrett – of African descent – who has been promoted to assistant CCP for London.