Page last updated at 01:22 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 02:22 UK

Cash award after 'Bin Laden' joke

Scales of Justice
Halima Aziz was suspended from work by the Crown Prosecution Service

A lawyer who was suspended by the Crown Prosecution Service after saying she was treated like a friend of Osama Bin Laden has been awarded 600,000.

Halima Aziz was working at Bradford Crown Court in 2001 when she was accused of blaming Jews for 9/11.

Ms Aziz denied that comment, but said she had joked she was being treated like a friend of the al-Qaeda leader.

The CPS said it accepted the employment tribunal's decision to make the award on grounds of racial discrimination.

The case started just a month after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September, 2001.

Ms Aziz was suspended while a complaint from the court was investigated, and was cleared of all allegations in 2002.

'Astonishing' response

The tribunal said a previous investigation by the CPS had been a whitewash.

Its judgement said: "This would be a completely unacceptable response on the part of any employer, but for a public body like the Crown Prosecution Service it can only be regarded as astonishing."

The tribunal also ordered Ms Aziz to be reinstated to her job and given a full apology.

After the hearing, the CPS said: "The CPS accepts the recommendations made by the employment tribunal and will be implementing them as a matter of priority. We offer a full apology to Halima Aziz."

The service added that it took equality and diversity very seriously.

Ms Aziz said she was "100% certain this would not have happened unless I had been a Muslim and Asian."

She said she was hoping to use the payout to build an orphanage in Pakistan.

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