Monday 26 October 2020

Green GLA candidate condemns Priti Patel's 'inflammatory 'language' on immigration lawyers after right-wing attack on Harrow solicitors

Cavan Medlock, 28, from Harrow in north-west London, allegedly visited the offices of Duncan Lewis Solicitors in Harrow  last month armed with a large knife and threatened to kill a member of staff last month.


At his trial last week, the prosecution alleged Medlock planned to take a solicitor hostage and display flags of Nazi Germany and the US Confederacy in the firm’s office windows to inspire others to carry out similar offences. He allegedly blamed lawyers at the firm for preventing the removal of immigrants from the UK.


Days earlier the home secretary, Priti Patel, had claimed activist lawyers were frustrating the removal of refused asylum seekers from the UK.


Medlock is charged with six offences including the charge of preparation of an act of terrorism, racially or religiously aggravated attacks against two members of staff at the law firm, and threats to kill.

Emma Wallace, Green Party candidate for the Brent and Harrow GLA consituency said today:

It is incredibly concerning to hear that the UK home secretary, Priti Patel, dismissed intelligence briefings from counter-terrorism police over the alleged far-right terror attack that was attempted at a local Harrow law firm at the beginning of September.  LINK

The Home Secretary's key role is to use intelligence provided to her and the Home Office to protect local communities and ensure they are kept safe and secure from any such threats from rightwing terrorism.  Instead, the home secretary ignored intelligence reports and is recorded using inflammatory and deregoratry language to describe immigration lawyers, in effect contributing to a rise in hatred and extremism, rather than quell it.

Brent and Harrow are diverse boroughs whose residents deserve to be protected by government - not undermined and endangered by it. I call on my fellow GLA Brent and Harrow candidates to condemn the Home Secretary’s inflammatory language and her  lack of action on the threat from right-wing groups and individuals.

Harrow Law Centre Director, Pamela Fitzpatrick, who is also a Harrow councillor, told the Harrow Monitoring Group website LINK:

This is very worrying as Harrow Law Centre has three immigration solicitors and less funding for security than big firms. This is the result of the actions of the Tories calling us activist lawyers.

After the alleged attack, Duncan Lewis wrote to the Law Society asking it to contact the home secretary and the lord chancellor “to ensure that attacks on the legal profession are prevented from this point forth”. It added: “The position as it stands is untenable, dangerous and cannot be allowed to persist.”

On Sunday 800 prominent legal experts wrote an open letter to the Guardian LINK:

We are all deeply concerned at recent attacks, made by the home secretary and echoed by the prime minister, on lawyers seeking to hold the government to the law.

Such attacks endanger not only the personal safety of lawyers and others working for the justice system, as has recently been vividly seen; they undermine the rule of law, which ministers and lawyers alike are duty-bound to uphold.

We invite both the home secretary and the Prime minister to behave honourably by apologising for their display of hostility, and to refrain from such attacks in the future.

In support of the letter, former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald QC said:

The home secretary may not grasp the indecency of her language, but the prime minister should know better.

Lawyers who represent demonised people are always attacked by populist politicians, but it is demeaning to our country and its institutions that the government itself is now dipping into this disreputable playbook.

It is precisely this sort of ugly authoritarianism that the rule of law is called upon to counter. The entire legal profession is proud of those lawyers who are being so crudely and dangerously vilified.




Anonymous said...

Off topic but have the courts announced their decision on the local election earlier this year?

Martin Francis said...

No. I am told that September has never been an official date for the determination of the petition or for making any announcement. There was a delay of 2-3 months due to Covid. The result of the recount cannot be publicly revealed until next steps have been decided.