Derbyshire judge resigns over ‘racist’ comment

Preston magistrates' court.

Preston magistrates' court.

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A judge from Dronfield has quit after being accused of making a racist comment during a case in Preston.

Deputy District Judge Terence Richard Peter Hollingworth, 63, stepped down from sitting in magistrates’ courts as a misconduct investigation was launched into his remarks about an Asian woman victim.

However, he remains a tribunal judge with the Immigration and Asylum Chamber pending the inquiry.

Judge Hollingworth, who is known as Peter, was reported by the Crown Prosecution Service after he allegedly made remarks in a harrassment case in Preston magistrates’ court on October 30. It was claimed he asked for victim Deepa Patel to be brought to court to hear her former boyfriend sentenced.

When prosecution lawyer Rachel Parker told the court she didn’t know whether Ms Patel could attend at short notice, the judge is said to have 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.”

And when Miss Parker asked the judge what he meant he allegedly said: “With a name like Patel, and her ethnic background, she won’t be working anywhere important.”

Miss Parker declined to continue saying she was “professionally embarrassed” and could no longer prosecute the case. Law student Deepa, who was born in Preston, later branded the judge’s comments as “disgusting.”

“I was born and bred in this country,” she stormed. “I went through school, college and then on to university to study law. 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. It’s right that he’s resigned, but it’s outrageous that he’s still an immigration judge. He needs to resign altogether.”

A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office confirmed that Judge Hollingworth had resigned as a deputy district judge.

• Another judge, Peter James Michael Hollingworth, who also hears immigration cases and is a district judge in the same region is entirely unconnected with this story and continues to preside in court.