Page last updated at 08:53 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 09:53 UK

Race abuse diplomat convicted

Scales of Justice
Rowan Laxton holds a senior post at the Foreign Office

A Foreign Office diplomat has been found guilty of shouting anti-Semitic comments while exercising in a gym.

Rowan Laxton, 48, was fined £350 at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court after being found guilty of racially aggravated harassment.

The incident, which took place at the London Business School gym on 27 January, was heard by other gym-users, who complained.

Laxton was suspended from his job and bosses are considering the case.

Laxton, who is head of the South Asia desk of the Foreign Office, was watching a television report about the death of a farmer killed by Israeli bombs when he swore and used anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish language.

In a written judgment, District Judge Howard Riddle said Laxton had been under stress on the day of the incident, and may have been oblivious to others around him.

He said: "This was not a legitimate protest - it was an emotional reaction.

"It is hard to imagine the circumstances when [using anti-Semitic language] in a gym used by other people, and overheard by two strangers 20ft away, could be considered reasonable."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokeswoman said: "The FCO takes very seriously any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour by its staff.

"The case will now be considered under the FCO's misconduct procedure."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific