A practising barrister who spent 24 years as an immigration tribunal judge has been slapped with a £250 fine after he started speaking in a German accent and raised his hand in a "Heil Hitler" Nazi salute at the end of a trial.
Thomas David Davidson, who is based in chambers on Fleet Street, suddenly put on a German accent and said 'Jawohl', which translates to the word 'yes', after he represented a defendant. He shocked three Lay Magistrates after he looked at the bench and concluded the trial with the "seriously offensive" gesture. His reasoning has not been disclosed at this time.
“After the chairperson raised with him the issue of his having used a German accent during the proceedings and telling him that this conduct had been inappropriate, Mr Davidson looked at the bench and said ‘Jawohl’ at the same time as raising a hand in a Nazi salute, which conduct was seriously offensive and discreditable," the Bar Standards Board heard, according to Legal Futures.
The Sieg Heil salute, which is now illegal to use in Germany, was once used as a greeting in the country throughout the Nazi rule under Adolf Hitler. The sign is viewed as a form of hate speech in the UK. The barrister spent 24 years in the role as an immigration tribunal judge and was called to the bar in July 1973.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) found that Davidson "behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession." An independent regulator issued him a penalty of £250 on November 21. He has also been told to stump up costs of £1,750. Davidson also focuses on crime, employment, family, residential landlord and tenant, personal injury and intellectual property. He has 21 days to appeal if he wishes to. The full report by the tribunal is yet to be disclosed. He has not submitted an answer to the claim at this time.