BNP teacher to take religious intolerance case to Europe

27th November 2009 at 00:00
Representatives will use human rights law to contest the dispute at the 'highest level' if the GTC issues sanctions against him

A British National Party-supporting teacher facing charges of religious intolerance at the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) says he will take the case to the "highest level" if found guilty.

Adam Walker's hearing has already been postponed because police feared clashes between protestors. It will now take place in the new year at a location still to be decided.

Mr Walker, now working as campaigns co-ordinator for the BNP's Andrew Brons, the newly elected MEP, has instructed his representatives to appeal in the European legal system if he loses the case.

His representatives from "workers union" Solidarity, of which he is president, are also studying sentences handed out by the GTC so they can take action if any sanction he is given is more severe than usual.

The teacher could become the first to be struck off for religious intolerance after being accused of posting anti-Muslim comments on the internet while using a school laptop.

His defence team believes Mr Walker should have faced computer misuse charges and claim the GTC was wrong to "politicise" the case.

A previous hearing, scheduled to be held at the GTC headquarters in Birmingham city centre, was abandoned after West Midlands police warned it could lead to "public order" problems and advised a postponement until community tensions had subsided.

Mr Walker, who resigned from Houghton Kepier Sports College at Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, in 2007, has been charged with unacceptable professional conduct. He has previously admitted posting criticisms of immigrants and Muslims but claims he has been victimised.

When Nick Griffin, BNP leader, protested outside one of Mr Walker's earlier hearings in November last year he described the proceedings as "farcical" and a "politically motivated show trial".

Mr Walker used a loudhailer to tell supporters: "It's absolutely disgusting that I am being hauled over the coals by the GTC because of my political beliefs. There's a word called love, but if you love your country, you are a racist in this day and age, and that is wrong."

Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity who is representing Mr Walker in the case, said he would use European human rights legislation, which guarantees freedom of speech in the hearing.

"A professional body is not the right level of society to deal with this case, and to use this kind of argument," he said. "But this is the fault of the GTC for introducing this political and religious element."

Mr Harrington tried to use a European directive earlier in the proceedings but could not find the right one. Now, the delay in the case has enabled him to identify the legal information required.

"My instructions are to take this to the highest level," he said.

Mr Walker has already won a fight to have Judy Moorhouse, then chair of the GTC, removed from his disciplinary panel after he claimed that, as a known critic of the BNP, she would be biased.

The NASUWT teaching union has accused the GTC of allowing the BNP to "milk" attention from the problems arising from the case.

NOTORIOUS HEARINGS

"Gun obsessed" teacher Martin Wynn Davies was struck off the teaching register by the GTC after he admitted keeping an arsenal of illegal guns and ammunition. Mr Wynn Davies, a married father or two, was also jailed for four years in June 2006. He purchased the guns in the wake of the Dunblane massacre in 1996, which resulted in tighter restrictions on handguns. Approximately 300 colleagues and parents signed a petition pleading for leniency for the teacher.

Alfred Deakins was described as "probably the worst" design and technology teacher an Ofsted inspector had ever seen in May 2008 as the GTC found him guilty of serious professional incompetence following claims of poor lesson planning and pupil confrontations. Mr Deakins, who taught at Withernsea High School in East Yorkshire, was also said to have "victimised" his students.

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