Judge given formal warning for ‘inadvertently’ liking pro-Palestine post

Friday, Jun 14, 2024

LONDON: A judge has been given a formal warning for “inadvertently” liking a pro-Palestine social media post.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram was sanctioned for liking a post by a barrister on LinkedIn.The post read: “Free Free Palestine. To the Israeli terrorist both in the United Kingdom, the United States and of course Israel, you can run, you can bomb but you cannot hide – justice will be coming for you.”

The Times reported on the issue on February 14, a day after Judge Ikram said he had “decided not to punish” three women found guilty of a terror offence after they displayed images of “paragliders” at a pro-Palestinian march.

Judge Ikram referred himself to the JCIO a day later, claiming he liked the “repulsive” post “inadvertently”, with the body receiving more than 60 complaints about the issue.He was given a formal warning by the Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr, with the agreement of Lord Chancellor Alex Chalk, after an investigation found his action amounted to misconduct.

In a statement on Tuesday, the JCIO said: “After careful consideration, the Lord Chancellor and the Lady Chief Justice were not satisfied that a sanction of formal advice was sufficient in this case. “They therefore agreed to issue Judge Ikram with a formal warning.

“In reaching their decision, they took into consideration that, in addition to having breached the guidance on social media use, the judge’s actions caused significant reputational damage to the judiciary, as evidenced by the extraordinary number of complaints made to the JCIO.

“They also considered it important for their decision to underline their shared view on the seriousness of misuse of social media by judges.” Judges are prohibited from taking part in “political activity” and are subject to guidance about their use of social media, the JCIO said.

During the investigation into the issue, Judge Ikram “accepted that inadvertently ‘liking’ the post had raised concerns about his impartiality”, but said he had no direct social media connection to the person who uploaded the post.

The JCIO said that the judge overseeing the investigation found that Judge Ikram’s action “had resulted in the perception of bias” as a “link had been inferred” between the incident and his involvement in the case of the pro-Palestinian protesters.But they noted the incident was “not deliberate or the result of carelessness” and that Judge Ikram “had taken full responsibility and shown genuine remorse”.