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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Pub discrimination denied
Saskia Cousins and Jayne Smith
Saskia Cousins and Jayne Smith leave court on Wednesday
A landlord accused of sexual discrimination has told a court he asked a group of transsexuals to leave his pub to avoid violence.

John Gawthorp is accused of barring the five male to females from the Red Lion pub in Thornby, Northamptonshire, after one was said to have used the ladies' toilets.

Mr Gawthorp, 53, told Northampton County Court that a number of regulars had complained and he was concerned about possible trouble.

The publican, who has run the pub for five years, told the civil hearing that he had the right to exclude anybody, providing it was lawful.

A course he had attended made it "explicit" that he could bar customers and that explanations could only agitate the situation.

I was led to believe that one of the (group) had been seen leaving the ladies toilet
Landlord John Gawthorp
Giving evidence, he told his lawyer, Patrick Green, that he noticed some hostility when the group arrived.

"It took me a little while to find out what was going on. I was led to believe that one of the (group) had been seen leaving the ladies toilet," he said.

"My customers were quite annoyed about this.

"I was led to believe that should any of their female partners meet these people in the ladies that there would be trouble, verbal abuse, or it could escalate to physical violence.

"I considered it my duty to stop that happening. I was trying to defuse a situation to stop violence occurring."

The group - Jayne Smith from Nottinghamshire, Daphne Lalor, Nicki Collett, Mandy Brook and Saskia Cousins, all from Leicestershire, - claim that in asking them to leave and refusing to serve them, Mr Gawthorp discriminated against them because of their sex.

They are supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission who believe that the case could clarify the law on protecting transsexuals against discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services as well as at work.




SEE ALSO:
Transsexuals to sue pub
03 Jul 03  |  Northamptonshire
Transsexual fails in court bid
16 Jul 03  |  Nottinghamshire


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