UK Indian-Origin Magistrate loses job after his AK-47 Photo on visit to India

1  jan  2015

UK Indian-Origin Magistrate Loses Job After AK-47 Photo

UK Indian-Origin Magistrate Loses Job After AK-47 Photo

LONDON:  An Indian-origin former councillor of Derby City in Britain has been stripped of his role as a magistrate after a probe found that he had “brought disrepute to the magistracy” by being photographed holding an AK-47 rifle during a visit to India.

The photograph of Ajit Atwal, who used to represent the Liberal Democrats on the Derby City Council, was taken while he was on holiday in India last year.

In April, Atwal, originally from Punjab, apologised but was still suspended as a magistrate.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said his behaviour “amounted to serious misconduct”.

Labour colleagues in Derby made calls for Atwal to resign as a councillor when the photo appeared in a national newspaper in March.

Later, he apologised if he had “caused anyone any alarm or distress” but refused to resign as a magistrate.

Atwal lost his other role as a councillor in May’s local elections.

A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said, “Mr Ajit Singh Atwal JP, a Magistrate assigned to the Derbyshire Bench, uploaded photographs of himself holding an automatic weapon, which is illegal in the UK, on his Twitter account”.

“The photographs were deemed by a conduct panel to have brought the magistracy into disrepute. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice concluded that this behaviour amounted to serious misconduct and have removed Mr Atwal from the magistracy,” he said. Atwal has yet to comment.

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