April 23 2014 Latest news:
by Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
A Chadwell Heath man has said he was “embarrassed and humiliated” when security staff allegedly demanded he remove a Sikh ceremonial dagger to enter a Romford court.
Jagdeep Singh Aujla, of Dartford Gardens, said he was “extremely distressed” by his ordeal at Romford County Court last month.
Mr Aujla, 43, had already been admitted to the court on September 28 with his kirpan for a hearing but left the building to top up a parking meter.
But when he went back in, two new security guards refused him entry to the court, classing the religious item as a knife.
The kirpan is one of the five articles of faith worn by baptised Sikhs and is allowed in court if shorter than a certain length.
Mr Aujla said: “I’ve been baptised for 13 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this.
“I was quite shocked because I’ve been living here all my life and you don’t think people would make that kind of mistake in this day and age.
“I went to the Olympics and there was no issue there, even with all the security.”
Mr Aujla was waiting to be called into the court because his hearing had been delayed and said he and his barrister tried to explain to the guards that the kipan was permitted.
Eventually he was allowed through when another member of security of staff found the document explaining the rule on kirpans.
Mr Aujla added: “This whole episode could have been avoided had the guards had the common sense to check their folder full of information prior to launching into an attack against me and my faith in such a public area.
“If they need any training we can offer that at the Seven Kings Gurdwara.”
A spokesman for the HM Courts and Tribunals Service said Mr Aujla had been “incorrectly refused entry” to the court.
He added: “HMCTS takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and has rigorous systems in place to ensure the safety of all court users.
“We apologise for this error and have taken steps to prevent a repeat incident.”
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