"Something needs to change" - Alexandra Wilson expresses need for change after profiling episode


The barrister who was mistaken for a defendant and then journalist on four different occasions, has spoken of the need for change after being subjected to profiling at court.

In an interview with LBC, Alexandra Wilson, a family barrister and the author of In Black And White, opened up more about the experience which has since drawn national coverage. She had already spoken of how the event had left her "absolutely exhausted" and in her interview with the radio station further revealed that three black QC's had reached out to her describing similar experiences.

In the interview, she said:

Something needs to change because how can it be that people who are sitting as judges are being questioned as to why they’re going into certain parts of the building?”

In a series of tweets which documented the events after the affair, Wilson explained that the incident occurred when a security officer had asked for her name so he could ‘find her name on the list defendants’. After explaining that she was in fact a barrister the security officer apologised and she shrugged off the misjudgement before being guided through by security. However she soon encountered the same again, this time with a member of the public. After speaking to her client and opening the door of the courtroom to discuss the case with the prosecutor, she was told by a member of the public not to enter into the courtroom as it was a court where “only lawyers can go in”. The member of public had assumed that Ms Wilson was a journalist before being corrected by an usher who instructed the barrister to ignore the individual and head in.

Ms Wilson would then experience the same twice more, with the wrong inference being made by a barrister and clerk - essentially her own peers.

Upon entering the room, the barrister informed her that she needed to wait outside. She was told that the usher would come outside, sign her in and that the court would call her in for her case. After once more explaining that she was a barrister, the legal professional is said to have appeared embarrassed, but, as has since been revealed is yet to have apologised for the incident. This however did not stop a clerk from committing the same error. After the legal professional had turned around and with her sights set on finally having a conversation with the prosecutor, the clerk, ‘very loudly’ told her to leave the courtroom adding that the usher would see her out. Ms Wilson emphasised once again that she was in fact a barrister and was eventually able to have her conversation with the prosecutor but the cumulation of events had already had their effect.

The fallout from the episode has seen numerous public figures condemn the incident. The head of the court service, Kevin Sadler, also apologised for what he described as "totally unacceptable behaviour" and revealed that an investigation had been launched "as a matter of urgency". Ms Wilson has since called for not only basic equality and diversity training but also anti-racist training in the hopes of finding ways to practically overcome these issues.

Mayowa Ayodele


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