'Trojan Horse' teachers cleared of professional misconduct after government lawyers admit errors in the case

Two-year case dropped by independent panel after witness statements were 'deliberately withheld' by lawyers representing the Department for Education

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The Independent Online

A group of teachers alleged to be behind the so-called “Trojan Horse” scandal have been cleared of professional misconduct, after the Government’s lawyers were found to have made errors in the case.

The five senior staff members from Park View Educational Trust in Birmingham were brought before the National College for Teaching and Leadership’s disciplinary panel over allegations of a plot to “Islamify” schools in the local area.

Their case was dropped by the independent panel, however, which said the lawyers representing the Department for Education had failed to disclose any evidence.

The process had been “called into disrepute”, it said, with 25 witness statements from a previous inquiry “deliberately withheld” from the panel.

In 2014, a number of schools in the Birmingham area were investigated following claims a plot to control them had been set out by hardline Islamists.

Monzoor Hussain, Lindsey Clark and Arshad Hussain, from Park View school; Razwan Faraz a former deputy head teacher at Nansen Primary, and Hardeep Saini, former head teacher at Golden Hillock school were all accused of extremist intentions.

In its ruling on Monday, the disciplinary panel said the 25 withheld witness statements were disclosed at too late a stage by the Department for Education’s own lawyers, however.

A decision to halt proceedings “should only be taken in exceptional circumstances,” it was recognised, but the panel added: “In the particular circumstances relating to this case, there has been an abuse of the process which is of such seriousness that it offends the panel’s sense of justice and propriety. 

“What has happened has brought the integrity of the process into disrepute.” 

The “stage has been reached where it would be fair and appropriate” for proceedings to be discontinued, it said.

Commenting on behalf of union member Razwan Faraz, Ms Chris Keates, General Secretary of the Nasuwt teachers’ union said: “Razwan and the Nasuwt are delighted by the Panel’s decision.

“It has taken two years to reach this point, during which time Razwan and his family have been under enormous pressure. Razwan has been without his teacher’s salary and unable to pursue his chosen career.

“Today’s decision raises serious questions about  the conduct of the NCTL. 

“The Nasuwt will be reviewing the judgment in detail and considering what, if any, further action may be required.”

Lawyers for Monzoor Hussain and Ms Clark issued separate statements saying both parties were relieved the ordeal was over.

“For three years Mr Hussain has been unable to carry out his profession, with all the financial pressures that has caused to his family,” a statement said.

Ms Clark's lawyers described the victory as “hollow” as she had fought for a verdict clearing her of any wrongdoing.