BNP activist Adam Walker challenges lifetime teaching ban
A British National Party (BNP) activist has taken Education Secretary Michael Gove's office to court in a bid to overturn a lifetime teaching ban.
Adam Walker, of Spennymoor, was struck off for life in 2013 after he was given a suspended sentence for dangerous driving and verbally abused three boys.
The 44-year-old told the Administrative Court in Leeds that the length of the ban was because of his BNP support.
Responding, Rory Dunlop said it was right he faced the "ultimate sanction".
Mr Walker, who now works for two BNP MEPs, was initially given a minimum ban of two years by a National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) conduct panel for verbally abusing the boys and slashing their bike tyres with a knife.
He admitted he had "made a mistake" but claimed he had been provoked by the boys, aged between 10 and 12, while at a St George's Day celebration in Tudhoe, County Durham, in 2011.
He was given a six-month suspended sentence and 12-month driving ban after admitting dangerous driving at Durham Crown Court.
'Behaving extremely badly'
The Department for Education increased his punishment to a lifetime teaching ban, concluding that while Mr Walker was provoked, his actions were "violent and threatening".
He had previously appeared before a conduct committee in 2010 after he labelled some immigrants "savage animals" on an internet forum using a school laptop.
Mr Walker, a karate instructor and former teacher at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring, said he had "held his hands up" to the NCTL but claimed the lifetime ban was "totally disproportionate".
Judge Clive Heaton QC told the court that it was Mr Walker's case that his punishment was out of step with what other organisations considered just, as he had said the Disclosure and Barring Service had not banned him from contact with children and the karate authorities had not stopped him instructing.
He said the 44-year-old also claimed he had been more strictly dealt with than all other cases heard by the NCTL or the Department for Education (DfE) and that there had been undue interference by Mr Gove.
Representing himself, Mr Walker told the hearing that the Education Secretary had, "in typical fashion, made a prejudiced decision".
Responding for the DfE and the NCTL, Mr Dunlop said it was striking that Mr Walker had only admitted his guilt seven months after the offences.
"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?" he said.
"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 said he would reserved his judgement to be revealed later.