The case against a teacher and British National Party member accused of religious intolerance has been postponed because police fear it will cause flare-ups in the community
The unprecedented intervention in the case of Adam Walker, a former soldier and karate expert from Durham, who was due to face the General Teaching Council (GTC) in Birmingham tomorrow, was made because of tensions between far-right activists and the Muslim community. The council will decide if Mr Walker, 39, should be struck off the register after he was alleged to have used a school computer to contribute racist and religiously intolerant views to online discussions during lessons. If found guilty he will be the first teacher to be banned for religious intolerance.
Violent clashes between the right-wing English Defence League and Muslims in Birmingham earlier this month heightened tensions in the community. Ahead of the hearing, Superintendent Matt Ward of West Midlands Police wrote to the GTC expressing “concern about the potential public order consequences of the hearing being convened in Birmingham at this time,” the council said today. Superintedent Ward requested that the hearing be postponed or relocated to prevent further outbreaks of violence.
The council and the parties involved have seven days to find an alternative date and venues to prevent further delays.
Mr Walker, who is president of Solidarity, a trade union closely associated with the BNP, has already been called before the GTC on two previous dates. Both were postponed on different grounds. He left his post as a technology teacher at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland in 2007 following the allegations.
The alleged incident, in which he is said to have criticised Muslims, homosexuals and asylum-seekers, is said to have happened between February and March 2007.
He was first brought before the teaching watchdog in November 2008 but the hearing was adjourned after Patrick Harrington, representing Mr Walker, successfully argued that the presence of Judy Moorhouse, a former president of the National Union of Teachers and a “known opponent” of the BNP, could prejudice the hearing.
Police officers, some wearing riot gear, were deployed outside that hearing after dozens of BNP supporters and anti-fascist activists gathered in Birmingham’s Victoria Square outside the offices of the GTC.
Mr Walker’s brother, Mark, lost an appeal against his sacking from Sunnydale College, Shildon, County Durham. Mark Walker, also a technology teacher, is accused of accessing the BNP’s website during school hours. Sunnydale Board of Governors upheld a decision to terminate his contract owing to ill health.