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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Judge rapped over boy's race case
A judge who said a legal case against a 10-year-old boy over alleged racism was "political correctness gone mad" has been criticised by a teaching union.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said Judge Jonathan Finestein was "out of date" in his attitude.

The boy from Irlam, Greater Manchester, appeared at Salford Youth Court accused of racially abusing a fellow pupil.

But Judge Finestein adjourned the case, saying the boys would have got "a good clouting" in his day.

Nobody is more against racist abuse than me but these are boys in a playground; this is nonsense
Judge Jonathan Finestein

On adjourning the case until 20 April, he asked prosecutors to reconsider whether the case was in the public interest.

However Judith Elderkin, NUT National Executive member, said the judge should have taken the allegation of racism more seriously.

She added that she thought he was "out of date" with the way issues are dealt with in schools today.

The boy is accused of abusing an 11-year-old pupil in a school playground between 1 July 2005 and 30 January 2006.

He is accused of calling the pupil names including "Paki, nigger and Bin Laden".

During the preliminary hearing the court was told the boys are now friends and play football with each other.

'Reverse decision'

But Judge Finestein said he thought the decision to prosecute the youngster was "crazy" and urged the Crown Prosecution Service to reconsider its decision.

The judge said when he was at school he was repeatedly called "fat", but in those days the headmaster would have just given the children a "good clouting" and sent them on their way.

"Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness?" he said in court.

"Nobody is more against racist abuse than me but these are boys in a playground; this is nonsense.

"I think somebody should consider reversing the decision to prosecute."

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said the force took all crimes seriously and was totally opposed to any racism.

A teaching union spokesperson speaks out on the comments

How schools deal with racism
07 Apr 06 |  Education
Judge labels case 'PC gone mad'
06 Apr 06 |  Manchester

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