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Adam Walker has lost case against Michael Gove after lifetime teaching ban
Updated 7:48pm Friday 14th February 2014 in News
A BNP activist who took education secretary Michael Gove to court in a bid to overturn a lifetime teaching ban has lost his appeal.
Adam Walker was banned from the classroom for life after receiving a suspended jail sentence for chasing three boys in his car after they verbally abused him.
The 44-year-old married father of two, from County Durham, challenged the decision claiming it was prejudiced because of his far-right politics.
But following a hearing at the Administrative Court sitting in Leeds last month, Judge Clive Heaton QC has handed down a ruling which concluded: “I reject his argument as lacking any credible evidential base at all.”
Mr Walker had argued the National College for Teaching and Leadership recommended he should be banned from teaching for a minimum of two years.
But the punishment was increased to a life ban, by Mr Gove’s senior official Alan Meyrick, the next day.
He felt other teachers that had been found guilty of serious crimes against children were less harshly treated.
Mr Walker, who qualified in 2000, worked in Japan before returning to the North-East, where he taught IT at Houghton Kepier School, in Sunderland.
On St George’s Day 2011, he got into his Land Rover and chased three boys over the village green in Tudhoe, County Durham, and slashed their bike tyres with a craft knife.
He initially denied the extent of what happened but received an 18-month suspended jail sentence in September 2012 and was brought before a disciplinary panel at the NCTL last June.
Rory Dunlop, representing the Secretary of State, told the court hearing last month: “Children look to teachers as their examples.
“When you have someone not just behaving extremely badly, endangering children, but also failing to take responsibility for that behaviour and lying about it, what kind of example does that set to children?
“It cannot fairly be said that the Secretary of State was wrong to decide that the ultimate sanction was necessary for someone who endangered lives then lied repeatedly about it.”
Judge Heaton ruled there was no evidence that Mr Gove had intervened in the case, and in any case, he did not find that the life ban was unfair.
He concluded: “The appellant’s case that Mr Gove intervened personally in his disciplinary process so to ensure that he was prohibited from teaching for life is ultimately constructed upon nothing more than suspicion and innuendo.”
The judge also ruled Mr Walker has to pay the respondent’s legal costs.
In a statement released tonight, Mr Walker said he was disappointed but not surprised by the ruling, and confirmed he is facing legal costs of about £12,000.
"This all started because of something stupid, which I did in a moment of madness," he said.
"I brought the original court case on myself and have to face the consequences of that.
"But with the greatest respect to the Judge, I still believe that Gove took advantage of that fact."
He added: "I would like to apologise one more time to the people who have been affected by what I did wrong."