Judge attacks race activists

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The Independent Online
AN OLD BAILEY judge has asked the Attorney General to investigate black activists for trying to turn the killing of a 16-year-old Asian schoolboy into a "racial cause celebre".

Judge Graham Boal QC hit out at race campaigners who likened the murder of Manesh Patel to that of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Manesh, from Kenton, in Middlesex, died after being attacked by two white teenagers in a west London street in July last year, but the judge said it was a case of "bullying" with no racial motive - as did the victim's father.

The judge was told activists bombarded Manesh's parents with telephone calls to try to persuade them to criticise the police and claim that the killing was racially motivated.

He said: "It is extremely regrettable that anyone would think to approach Mr and Mrs Patel during the course of the trial. It would only have served to exasperate their distress at a very difficult time. In my view the Patel family treated the situation with considerable restraint. This whole matter ought to be investigated by the Attorney General."

Brian Altman, prosecuting, said Mr Patel was approached by Harrow Commission for Racial Equality to hold up a banner outside court. He refused. "He also received a number of calls from unknown sources trying to persuade him this was another Stephen Lawrence-type case. Mr Patel has told me that he has nothing but praise for the police."

He handed the judge a press release from an organisation called the 1990 Trust, whichstated: "Another bus stop, another murder, another miscarriage of justice".

In June a 16-year-old from the Harrow area, who cannot be named, was found guilty of manslaughter.

Another youth, 17, was convicted of causing actual bodily. Yesterday the 16-year-old was sentenced to three and a half years' detention, while the older boy was given 80 hours' community service.