President of the Employment Tribunals re-opens investigation of ‘anti-Christian’ judge

Jan 28, 2020 by

from Christian Concern:

Judge Brian Doyle, the President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales, has re-opened an investigation into Employment Judge Martin Kurrein’s conduct during the high-profile trial of Sarah Kuteh in 2017, following a Christian Legal Centre (CLC) complaint.

Mrs Kuteh was summarily dismissed as a nurse by an NHS hospital in Kent following complaints that she spoke to patients about her Christian faith, and gave one patient a copy of the Bible. Following a one-day trial in March 2017, Judge Kurrein upheld Mrs Kuteh’s dismissal as ‘fair’. In 2019, his judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

However, Judge Kurrein’s handling of the case has been called into question in a series of complaints from Christian Legal Centre, culminating in a High Court hearing last November. Andrea Williams, CLC’s Chief Executive, made a formal complaint to the President of the Employment Tribunals that Judge Kurrein’s conduct of the trial was “unfair”, as he was “conspicuously hostile to Mrs Kuteh and her representative throughout the hearing”.

Mrs Williams claims Judge Kurrein disrupted submissions by Mrs Kuteh’s lawyer, CLC consultant Pavel Stroilov, and his cross-examination of witnesses, by “extravagantly frequent interventions”, whose tone was “quite unacceptable”, and then by launching an unwarranted personal attack against Mr Stroilov in his written judgment published after the trial.

The complaint was initially rejected by the President of the Employment Tribunals and the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, but the CLC and Mr Stroilov challenged the outcome in a High Court claim for judicial review. At the hearing on 27 November 2019, Mr Justice Supperstone indicated he would grant permission for the case to proceed to a full trial. In response, the President has formally agreed on 20 January 2020 to re-consider his decision to dismiss the CLC’s complaint about Judge Kurrein’s conduct of Mrs Kuteh’s trial.

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