Pro-Palestine judge’s verdict faces review

Tan Ikram had spared three pro-Palestinian protesters from jail after they were found guilty of a terror offence


Tan Ikram (YouTube)

V The Crown Prosecution Service is considering seeking a judicial review of a judge’s decision to spare three anti-Israel campaigners jail after they were found guilty of a terror offence.

Jewish organisations have raised impartiality concerns after it was revealed that Tan Ikram had liked a post on LinkedIn labelling Israelis “terrorists” and backing Palestine.

Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, attatched images of people parachuting to their clothes, while Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, displayed the image on a placard at a demonstration last year.

On October 7, Hamas fighters used paragliders to enter Israel, where they killed 1,200 people, kidnapped civilians and tortured Jews.

Sentancing the trio earlier this week, Ikram told them: “You crossed the line, but it would have been fair to say that emotions ran very high on this issue.”

The judge handed each of the women a 12-month conditional discharge, though they could have recieved a six-month prison sentence.

Writing to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, the Jewish Leadership Council said:  “Ikram’s social media usage, when seen in conjunction with his decision to preside over the recent case at Westminster magistrates’ court, undermines the Jewish community’s confidence in his impartiality. He has claimed in a comment released to media that he did not realise he had ‘liked’ the post. Such a defence is weak and one he would likely dismiss if used in a trial he was presiding over.”

In their letter, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We bring to your attention the very serious concern that by his social media activity Ikram has at the very least created the appearance of possible bias in his judicial decision-making in the above case.

“Had this social media activity been known about in advance of the trial there would undoubtedly have been an application for recusal.”

Judicial guidance issued last year states that judges who are known to have strong views on an issue should consider whether they ought to hear a case.

In a statement issued by the Judicial Office, Ikram said: “I didn’t know that I’d liked that post. If I did, then it was a genuine mistake.”

Officials at the CPS are now “carefully considering” an application for a judicial review, The Times reported.

Speaking to the newspaper, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it was clear something had gone “very wrong” with the case.

“The sentence did not meet the severity of the crime and now the judge’s impartiality is being questioned,” she continued.

“The Crown Prosecution Service should consider bringing a judicial review to establish whether this trial was conducted fairly.

“There should also be an investigation into whether the judge’s social media use has breached any guidelines. Judges are rightly held to the highest standard and therefore must be accountable for their conduct if public confidence in our justice system is to be maintained.”

A  CPS spokesperson said: “We are carefully considering any future actions in relation to this case.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive