Barrister colleague of black minister accused of racism

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The Independent Online

A senior barrister who shares chambers with Labour's first black woman minister has been charged with racism by his professional body.

Gordon Pringle, a colleague of Baroness Scotland, a minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department, faces five racism charges, which he is defending before the Bar's disciplinary tribunal. Mr Pringle, a founding member of Bridewell Chambers, is accused of using racist and offensive language while working in the High Court and the Old Bailey.

Eric Adusei, the London solicitor's clerk who has brought the complaint, claims that when both men went to meet a defendant in the High Court, Mr Pringle called him a "blackie." Mr Adusei has told the Bar Council : "While in the cells he introduced me as blackie, then smiled."

On a separate occasion, Mr Pringle, a barrister for 28 years, referred to the clerk and another defendant as "coons", he alleges. Mr Pringle is further alleged to have called Mr Adusei a "black boy" and "black Moor" during an eight-month fraud trial at the Old Bailey last year.

Mr Pringle faces five charges of racism and five further alternative charges of bringing the profession into disrepute.

In 1991, Patricia Scotland became the first black female QC at the age of 35. She joined Bridewell Chambers as an "associate member" last year. Shortly after Labour was elected in 1997, she was made a peer and she became the first black woman to be appointed to the Government.

A spokeswoman for the Bar Council said that Mr Pringle was defending all the allegations and that the hearing had been adjourned.