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Senior British judge receives warning after liking a post calling for a free Palestine

June 13, 2024 at 2:05 pm

A protester holds a placard reading ‘Free Palestine’ as thousands attend a pro-Palestinian protest, with Palestinian flags and anti-war placards, demanding the end to the Israeli attacks on Gaza in London, United Kingdom on June 08, 2024. [Raşid Necati Aslım/Anadolu Agency]

A senior British judge has received a formal warning for misconduct after he “accidentally” liked a post on LinkedIn calling for a free Palestine.

The post stated: “Free Free Palestine. To the Israeli terrorists both in the United Kingdom, the United States and of course Israel, you can run, you can bomb but you cannot hide – justice will be coming for you.”

According to the Standard, Judge Tan Ikram had decided earlier not to punish three women displaying parachute images at a pro-Palestine protest held a week after the 7 October attack. He issued them 12-month conditional discharges after they were found guilty of an offence under the Terrorism Act.

Judge Ikram referred himself to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), which revealed it had received over 60 complaints about the issue and referred 43 of them to a nominated judge for consideration.

The nominated judge found that Ikram had violated social media guidelines for the judiciary by identifying himself as a judge on LinkedIn and that his ‘like’ of the post “resulted in a perception of bias.”

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A statement from the nominated judge said: “This was demonstrated by the fact that a link had been inferred between this issue and a case heard by Judge Ikram, which involved pro-Palestinian protesters,” adding that “the risk of undermining public confidence was heightened by the fact that he had identified himself on social media as a judge.”

Judge Ikram, who holds a CBE and serves on the judicial appointments committee, claimed he had accidentally liked the post, which he described as “repulsive”. He told the judicial conduct investigation that he had taken steps to mitigate the impact of his action by closing his LinkedIn account, which he primarily used for his work as a diversity and community relations judge.

He commissioned a technical report indicating that he had no direct social media connection with the person who posted the comment and stated that it was “abundantly simple” for a LinkedIn user to accidentally ‘like’ on an iPhone by double-tapping an image.

The JCIO stated that a nominated judge, who investigated 43 complaints regarding Deputy Senior District Judge Tanweer Ikram’s conduct, agreed that the ‘like’ was accidental.

However, the Lord Chancellor, Alex Chalk, and the Lady Chief Justice, Baroness Carr, upgraded the nominated judge’s sanction of ‘formal advice’ to a formal warning.

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