CPS boss faces race discrimination case

A SENIOR Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer has been reported to the Law Society over allegations that he breached the Race Relations Act.

Stephen O'Doherty, assistant chief crown prosecutor for the London CPS, is accused of breaching the Solicitors' Anti-Discrimination Rule 1995. The complaint, which was made by Neeta Amin, a CPS prosecutor, has been referred to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS).

O'Doherty is in the running for one of the 42 new chief crown prosecutor posts set to be announced by the Attorney General, John Morris QC, this week in the House of Commons.

However, a complaint of victimisation under the Race Relations Act 1976 against the CPS in November, in which O'Doherty was named as one of the respondents, was found by an employment tribunal in Croydon to be “well-founded”.

Amin took action when she was forcibly relocated to a different office in May 1997, just four days after settling an earlier claim of racial discrimination against the CPS.

A CPS spokesman says the the tribunal did not criticise the CPS' overall approach to race issues, although it did criticise its training and equal opportunities policies. “We will need to consider the judgment fully before we consider what action to take.”

Amin is calling for action to be taken against O'Doherty, but a Law Society spokesman says that, as yet, “no findings have been made against him”.

The Law Society says all complaints are investigated by the OSS.

The CPS is currently in court in Bedford facing separate claims of racial discrimination by three senior crown prosecutors of Asian origin.

They allege discrimination has prevented them from being promoted.

One of the three, Maria Bamieh, says: “The selection procedures are a farce.”

Meanwhile, Peter Shah told the tribunal: “My case is that institutional racism exists in the CPS, and I have been a victim.”