'Evil' barrister tried to ruin my life, ex tells appeal

An "evil" barrister who lost a £33 million race discrimination claim against a leading law firm was hell-bent on ruining her ex-boyfriend's life, a court heard today.





Indian-born Aisha Bijlani was branded "evil" by Atul Sehgal as he described how she set out to "humiliate and destroy" him.



Details of the harassment were given today at Blackfriars Crown Court in London as Bijlani launched her appeal against a conviction for two counts of sending malicious and insulting emails and making abusive phone calls between June and August 2007.



She told a tribunal last October that the incidents happened "in a period of acute distress" after she plunged into depression as a result of her treatment at the legal chamber Four New Square.



But today, Mr Sehgal, who had a four-month relationship with Bijlani in 2004, told the court: "In fact, it was evil behaviour from her."



Bijlani thought Mr Sehgal had left her for one of his colleagues, Nicola Koenig, who Bijlani incorrectly believed was a German prostitute, the court was told.



Mr Sehgal said: "She told me she wanted to destroy me and would say, 'Watch while your life crumbles'. She was ruthlessly just trying to destroy my life.



"It basically was there to humiliate and destroy me in the most personal way.



"She was hell-bent on ruining my life because I was ignoring her and hanging around too much with Nicola Koenig."



He told the court Bijlani was sending the emails "just to provoke me, just to humiliate me, just to upset me, just to make me feel really small".



The court was told that in one email, dated June 20, 2007, Bijlani told Mr Sehgal: "You and your friends are weak, childish, sensitive, low-achievers, serial liars and pathetic."



In another on July 14, she wrote: "No guy with a normal sex drive could be interested in a flat-chested, too long-faced, asexual freak with large sweaty feet, yuk."



She referred to Mr Sehgal as a "lap dog", "arsehole", "loser" and an "impotent gay man" who was a "failure in every way".



In another email, she asked what his dead mother would think of him for abandoning her and going out with someone who "takes her clothes off for a living".



Mr Sehgal replied to one of the email with the words:"F*** Off", the court was told.



Bijlani also emailed Ms Koenig five times between July 30 and August 2, 2007, giving one message the subject "Auf Wiedersehen".



Pamela Reiss, for the Crown, said Bijlani's opening line in an email to the complete stranger was: "Do most people call you a cheap hooker or a working-class trollop?"



Bijlani went on: "Since you have no qualifications and are now old and past it, perhaps you should get Atul's acquaintances (he has no friends) to pay you for licking the toilet bowls every time they have a shit.



"The most you should get is 1p for every 100 bowls you lick.



"I wouldn't pay you anything but then I wouldn't have a cheap trollop any where near me."



Bijlani, who was given a conditional discharge after being convicted, was not in court today for the start of the appeal, expected to last three days.









Bijlani, 43, of Ponsonby Terrace, Belgravia, London, was represented today by her counsel Jeannie Mackie and is expected to give evidence during the appeal.



Her claims against three consecutive heads of chambers at her firm - John Powell QC, Justin Fenwick QC and Roger Stewart QC, plus senior clerk Lizzy Wiseman - were dismissed by a tribunal judge earlier this year.



Bijlani, who regularly broke down in tears during the Central London Employment Tribunal hearing, claimed the firm's clerks subjected her to a "racist regime", failed to get her work and did not collect her fees, costing her millions in lost income.



She also claimed Ms Wiseman used her romantic relationships with Mr Fenwick and Mr Stewart to avoid being held accountable at work.



Bijlani also claimed white colleagues who qualified at the same time as she did earned about £7 million more than her in more than a decade at the firm.



The terms "paki" and "wog" were used "liberally" in the clerks' room at the chambers and some employees expressed support for the policies of the National Front, she said.



Bijlani - who qualified as a doctor and had a short career in medicine at Guy's Hospital in London before switching to a career in law - claimed she was never given the opportunity to reach her full potential at the chambers she joined in 1994 because of racist attitudes.



She earned considerably less than two white colleagues who joined the firm at the same time, the tribunal heard.



The appeal was adjourned to tomorrow.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
Extras
indybest
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style