Appeal panel condemns Board for suspending deputy for six years over 'Islamophobic' comments

Roslyn Pine appealed her suspension and panel's resulting report concluded there was 'no precedent' for it


A Board of Deputies’ panel has criticised its own executive for suspending a deputy for six years after she made comments described as Islamophobic, saying it lacked the authority to do so.

Following a JC investigation, the Board suspended Roslyn Pine for six years in July after she was found to have brought the organisation into disrepute.

Mrs Pine, who represented Finchley United Synagogue, had shared tweets describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals” as well as calling Arabs “so evil”.

Speaking to the JC in June, she said she “detests the creed of Islam” and that “killing us and destroying Israel is an Islamic fundamental”. These comments were the subject of a fresh complaint by former deputy Anthony Tricot.

The Board’s code of conduct panel recommended that she be “suspended from the Board’s activities for such period as the executive committee may decide”.

But following an appeal by Mrs Pine, the Board’s appeal panel found the executive committee had made a “serious omission” in failing to hold an official meeting before announcing her six-year suspension.

The panel’s findings were laid out in a report dated October 21. Mrs Pine sent it to deputies on Monday.

The ruling that Mrs Pine breached the Board's code of conduct was upheld.

But the appeal panel's report read: “The appeal panel were agreed that no precedent has been hitherto set and followed for the suspension of [Mrs Pine] for a period of six years. Accordingly, the executive’s decision in this respect appears to be irregular.

“The appeal panel were further dismayed to find that there was no formal meeting of the executive to take the decision on the recommendations of the code of conduct panel’s decision made on July 9.”

Instead, the report said, the Board’s chief executive Gillian Merron conducted a “telephone poll” of other members of the executive.

Mrs Merron provided an undated record of the poll to the appeal panel. But it included “no notes of the conversation she had… It merely shows a tick against the names," the report said.

It added that the removal of any deputy from their position is “beyond the executive committee’s and the Board’s authority”.

The matter will now be sent back to the executive committee to decide on alternative disciplinary actions against Mrs Pine.

Following her suspension, Mrs Pine issued the Board with a “subject access request”, which required the organisation to disclose all data it had on her.

The JC understands that the request, which saw all deputies disclose all emails including the terms “Roslyn”, “Pine” and “rosypine”, cost the organisation a sum “in the tens of thousands of pounds”.

A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: "The original penalty was imposed by following a process devised under legal advice, under the current provisions of the code of conduct.

"Following the recommendations of the Appeal Panel, we are convening a special Executive Committee meeting to consider an appropriate penalty."

They added the code of conduct panel’s ruling, which was upheld by the appeal panel, “established that Ms Pine has been a serial offender in terms of expressing anti-Muslim and other obnoxious views, in contravention of the Board of Deputies’ Code of Conduct”.

The Board later issued another statement, saying the executive committee decided to suspend Mrs Pine after taking legal advice on "the scope of its powers and the procedural requirements of the current Code of Conduct".

The Board added: "The Code contains no express procedural requirements regarding the exercise of the Executive’s decision-making power, it places no upper limits on the suspension that may be applied in an appropriate case and provides that a Deputy may be removed from any position within the Board.

"The Executive takes on board the Appeal Panel decision and recommendations and is convening a special Executive Committee meeting to consider any appropriate steps.”

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