"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Barristers Hurt in Courtroom Acid Attack

One of the short snippets from Court News I posted yesterday has been picked up by the Daily Mail.

It is a relatively unusual case; an Indian man who had his appeal over a race discrimination claim dismissed threw hydrochloric acid at his legal team, leaving them with minor injuries. As he was restrained, he shouted: 'I was trying to blind them, they're all Nazis'.

Here is a more detailed version of the story:

A furious litigant hurled hydrochloric acid over three lawyers after a High Court ruling went against him, a jury heard today.

Unemployed Ashok Mahajan went berserk inside Court 11 of the Royal Courts of Justice as appeal judge Mr Justice Underhill delivered the unfavourable ruling against his race discrimination claim.

He threw a bottle of the highly corrosive liquid over barrister Richard Liddell, solicitor Claire White and trainee barrister Lucy Colter.

Miss Colter screamed in pain when she was hit in the eye and acid that landed on her leg burned through her tights, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Fumes filled the court, leaving staff struggling for breath and forcing the judge to flee, the jury heard.

In a tape recording of the incident, 54-year-old Mahajan can be heard hurling abuse at the lawyers after the ruling, calling them 'f****** hire dogs' and ranting 'there's no f****** justice in this stinking court'.

Describing her ordeal, pupil barrister Lucy Colter told police he sprayed the acid at them 'quite few times to make sure he got us'.

'The liquid rained around us and was all up my right leg and over my right arm.'

Philip Bennetts, prosecuting, told jurors: 'It also went in her mouth and right eye. Her worst injuries were to her eye.

'She suffered a mild corrosive burn to her eye. She also had two burns to her left and right thighs, the acid burning her tights.

'Fortunately she received immediate first aid treatment at court and subsequent treatment has resulted in no permanent damage.'

He said security staff were quickly on the scene and Mahajan was detained.

When Mahajan was asked what he was trying to do, he allegedly replied: 'I was trying to blind them... they're all Nazis.'

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