Foreign Office man wins appeal against race abuse claim

Rowan Laxton, a senior official in the Foreign Office has won an appeal against his conviction for racially aggrevated harrassment.

By Leon Symons, March 25, 2010
Rowan Laxton

Rowan Laxton

A senior Foreign Office diplomat has won his appeal against a conviction for racially aggravated harassment.

Rowan Laxton, 48, was exercising in a gymnasium last year when he saw a TV report about Israel’s action in Gaza.

Two men elsewhere in the gym claimed that they heard him shout “f------ Israelis, f------ Jews” at news of the death of a farmer.

They complained to staff and Mr Laxton, who was then head of the Foreign Office's South Asia desk, was arrested and then charged. He was also suspended from his post.

His appeal was heard by a Crown Court judge and two magistrates at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month, when the prosecution re-presented its entire case.

They decided that Mr Laxton did not say “f------ Jews”, the comment on which the prosecution was based and which he had always denied.

They also decided as an alternative ground that he thought no-one was within earshot.

Last updated: 2:23pm, March 25 2010