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A Perth security supervisor has won his bid for compensation after the Federal Circuit Court found a former lawyer racially abused him when she refused a routine court security search.
In his decision, Judge Toni Lucev found the lawyer engaged in unlawful conduct under the Racial Discrimination Act when during her lengthy outburst the female lawyer repeatedly called the security officer a “Singaporean prick” as dozens of people looked on.
During her tirade at the Central Law Courts, the abusive lawyer also said the security guard should go back to Singapore, that people like him were “not needed here” and accused him of having "short man syndrome".
Judge Lucev found that the 55 year old security officer was embarrassed and hurt by the racist behaviour and ordered the abuser to pay $12,500 in compensation for medical expenses and humiliation
Slater and Gordon lawyer Simon Millman said his client was performing routine security checks when he was subjected to a prolonged verbal assault targeted at him because of his nationality.
“My client was ensuring the safety and security of visitors to the law courts, when a lawyer – almost the last person expected to act this way – unleashed a tirade of racial abuse,” he said.
“As a legal practitioner herself, the defendant should have known better than to behave in this way, but because she didn’t, she will now have to pay the price.
“The Racial Discrimination Act was passed into law almost 40 years ago, so it is amazing to think in this day and age that someone could be subjected to such abuse.
“This Federal Court decision sends a clear message that there’s no place for this sort of racist behaviour in our multicultural society.”
The victim said he felt humiliated and offended by the discriminative and disgraceful verbal abuse especially because she was a legal professional.
“The attack was so personal. She criticised my Singaporean origin, my appearance – all of this in front of other staff members and the public. It was so humiliating,” he said.
“I’m pleased with the Judge’s decision and I’m looking forward to putting this incident behind me and getting on with my life.”
The incident was one of many matters which the Supreme Court considered earlier this year that saw the lawyer struck off the roll of legal practitioners.