Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 17:28 UK

Navy officer loses racism claim

CPO Andrew Antrobus
CPO Antrobus claimed senior colleagues ignored his complaints

A black Royal Navy officer has lost his claim for racial discrimination.

Chief Petty Officer Andrew Antrobus, 36, accused the service of racism after colleagues at its recruiting office in Cornwall nicknamed him Robert Mugabe.

He claimed the nickname was coined after he became office manager in Redruth and ran a strict regime.

An employment tribunal panel said while there had been banter in the office, CPO Antrobus had used the nickname himself. It dismissed the case.

It seems improbable that a white CPO would have been nicknamed Mugabe
John Hollow, tribunal judge

The married father had told the tribunal in Exeter he complained to Warrant Officer Robert Ewen after being introduced by CPO John Pinsent as "Andy, AKA Robert Mugabe" at a meeting.

Tribunal judge John Hollow said there was a "significant racial element" in the use of the name, given that both CPO Antrobus and Robert Mugabe were black.

"It seems improbable that a white CPO would have been nicknamed Mugabe," Mr Hollow said.

But ruling the nickname was not unwanted, the tribunal unanimously cleared CPO Pinsent of direct discrimination.

"We do not find the claimant was subjected to a detriment on the ground of his colour," the panel said.

Claims against WO Ewen and the Ministry of Defence were also dismissed.



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