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Headline

George Oldham found guilty of misconduct over ‘ethnics’ email

Comment

Your reporter was not in Glasgow to hear the case against Oldham, or his defence. The only evidence that the Board brought against Oldham was merely that he had used the words 'the ethnics', which Oldham admitted. It did not explain how the use of (what is in fact) objective language could have been in any way pejorative of any individual, nor was there any evidence that anyone had been insulted or demeaned. Questioning from the PCC chair showed however that the PCC was prepared to consider a conviction on the basis of nothing more than a negative inference - the kind of justice that was prevalent in political cases 450 years ago and which has no place in a civilised society. Oldham, anticipating what the PCC was up to, denied the implied usage, and said that he had put the words in inverted commas to show he was doing nothing more lampooning the RIBA president. There was no other evidence against Oldham. The finding against Oldham, which I also heard, was based entirely upon a case that had been invented by the PCC. It bore no relationship either to the charge or to the evidence. But what was of greater concern was that the golden thread that runs through British justice of 'innocence until proved guilty' was nowhere to be found. The whole process was a disgrace and an embarrassment. I well remember George Oldham, with a group of others including Kate Macintosh and Peter Ahrends, leading the RIBA's schools policy against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The Arb has no memory of such matters and, it seems, has failed to learn any sensible discernment.

Posted date

18 April, 2013

Posted time

8:51 am

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