'DO NOT IGNORE RACISM' Justice Chief's Trial Warning

The Mirror (London, England), December 4, 2000 | Go to article overview

'DO NOT IGNORE RACISM' Justice Chief's Trial Warning


Byline: HEATHER RAMSAY

JUSTICE minister Jim Wallace yesterday warned that Scotland must guard against institutional racism in the wake of the Surjit Singh Chhokar murder trials.

Wallace said it would be "foolish, arrogant and complacent" to say the problem did not exist after two separate trials failed to convict anyone for the Indian waiter's killing.

Three men have walked free from court after being tried for the murder and campaigners have accused the Crown Office of institutional racism.

Wallace told BBC Scotland's Eye to Eye programme yesterday: "It's something we have to be on our guard against not least because it can happen unwittingly through ignorance or through prejudice."

He said that the Crown Office's internal inquiry had already found there was also a failure to communicate properly with the Chhokar family during the murder probe.

He said: "Nobody thought to inquire what language they would understand when sending them letters.

"The fact that it didn't happen, the fact there was that thoughtlessness, that unwitting prejudice, fits the definition of institutional racism and we have to get away from that."

The victim's family are fighting for a public inquiry into the handling of the case by police and the Crown Office. …

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