Coventry Councillor censured for racial abuse

01 Jan 2018

Public Law and Judicial Review

At a hearing on 17 March 2017, Coventry City Council’s Ethics Committee found that Cllr Jaswant Singh Birdi had breached its members’ Code of Conduct by racially abusing a shopkeeper and threatening to close down his premises.

Matt Lewin of Cornerstone Barristers was appointed by the City Council to act as an independent investigator into the incident, which occurred in January 2016. He found a “remarkable and puzzling conflict” between the accounts given by the shopkeeper, Mr Kuruparan, and the Councillor. On balance, Matt concluded that Mr Kuruparan’s account was to be preferred.

Cllr Birdi rejected Matt’s findings and therefore a hearing before the Committee took place last Friday.

The Committee, having heard from Matt and from the Councillor, agreed with Matt’s findings and concluded that Cllr Birdi had breached the Code. They decided to formally censure Cllr Birdi and recommended that full Council do the same at its next meeting. They also recommended that the Conservative group, of which Cllr Birdi is a member, consider whether to remove him from his current role as Shadow Member for Policing and Equalities.

The hearing was reported in the Coventry Telegraph.