Bin Laden outburst officer wins case

THE Prison Service was said to be "disappointed" last night after losing its case against an officer who was sacked after throwing a set of keys at a picture of Osama Bin Laden.

THE Prison Service was said to be "disappointed" last night after losing its case against an officer who was sacked after throwing a set of keys at a picture of Osama Bin Laden.

Colin Rose, a 53-year-old former Coldstream Guardsman, won his claim for unfair dismissal at a tribunal.

The tribunal heard that Mr Rose was sacked from Blundeston Prison, near Lowestoft, in May 2002, after he aggressively threw a set of keys down a metal chute at the prison gatehouse, and jokingly claimed Bin Laden's picture was at the bottom of it.

He made the remarks two months after the September 11 attacks in 2001 after a staff notice had been issued, a fortnight after the terror attack, asking officers to "have continued sensitivity' as the prison had many Muslim inmates.


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Mr Rose, who had worked for the Prison Service for 21 years, was told to be quiet after two Asian women wearing headscarves and an Asian man were seen at the window of the gatehouse.

The tribunal in Norwich condemned Mr Rose's dismissal by prison governor Jerry Knight as being over-zealous in his attempts to be racially aware.

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The tribunal said: "This was a one-off incident, an injudicious remark by a man under stress, with a good record over many years.'

The tribunal also "wondered whether the governor lived in the real world'.

But, a spokeswoman for the Prison Services said: "The decision to dismiss Mr Rose was fully consistent with Prison Services policy.

"The Prison Service is absolutely determined to eradicate racism in prisons.

"It is equally committed to ensuring staff act with honesty and integrity.'

A six-month internal investigation failed to find out whether the visitors in Arabic dress had heard the comment, the hearing was told.

Mr Rose said no complaint had been made to him by those visitors and he had realised his barrack-room humour had been inappropriate and had immediately apologised.

The Prison Service spokeswoman added: "We are very disappointed by the decision of the employment tribunal.

"A decision which had already been found to be fair by an internal Prison Service appeal and the civil service appeals board which is completely independent from the Prison Service.'

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