Holloway pub pay £24,000 in Travellers' discrimination case
PUBLISHED: 06:27 19 May 2015
Staff at the Coronet, a JD Wetherspoon boozer, guilty of 'racial stereotyping' says judge
The owners of a Holloway boozer have been ordered to shell out tens of thousands of pounds for “direct racial discrimination” against a group of travellers.
JD Wetherspoon, who runs the Coronet, in Holloway Road, was ordered to fork out £24,000 following a hearing in the High Court on Monday.
The judge upheld eight of the Travellers’ claims, but dismissed ten others; and the pub chain say the travellers were forced to pay the boozer’s legal costs.
The trouble started when The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain had met for their annual meeting adjacent to J D Wetherspoon’s Coronet pub, in Holloway Road, in 2011.
When they tried to go next door for drinks, they claim the doormen told them that they “were not allowing travellers or people from the traveller conference to enter”.
A top lawyer, a retired policeman and a Catholic priest were amongst the group and they were only allowed entry when the officer, then serving, produced his warrant card to one of the bouncers and asked if the manager would explain what was going on.
In his ruling, judge John Hand QC said Wetherspoon’s thinking was “suffused with the stereotypical assumption that Irish Travellers and English Gypsies cause disorder wherever they go.
“In my judgment this is racial stereotyping of those with that ethnic origin.
“It can be reduced to this crude proposition: whenever Irish Travellers and English Gypsies go to public houses violent disorder is inevitable because that is how they behave”
Yvonne MacNamara, CEO of the Traveller Movement, said: “We are overjoyed with today’s decision. Justice has finally been done for those who were turned away from the Coronet pub because they were Travellers, or because they were associated with Travellers. In this day and age it is outrageous that a national pub chain like JD Wetherspoons can carry out such a blatant act of discrimination against members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, their friends and colleagues,”
Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon said :“We apologise to the eight individuals who were denied entry and for any upset and distress this caused to them.
He added; “In light of the judgment, though we have always been fully committed to operating our premises in a non-discriminatory way, we will undertake a full review of our relevant policies, procedures and training.”
He said the level of costs incurred by the claimants’ lawyers, thought to be £700,000 beofre the trial started, were “astronomical and unjustified”.