Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How Dare You Call us Racists ? R.I.P. Rahasya Rudra (Rudy) Narayan, Barrister-At-Law !

   Like many West Indians in the 1950s, Rahasya Rudra (Rudy) Narayan, left his native Guyana in search of a better life and went to Britain.  He joined the Royal Army Ordance Corps and put in seven years of service, reaching the rank of sergeant.  He left the army in 1965 and decided to pursue a career as a barrister.  In Britain there are two types of lawyers, barristers and solicitors.  Barristers litigate cases in court.  Solicitors engage in non-litigation work and it is through them that barristers are retained to litigate cases.

   Mr. Narayan studied at Lincoln's Inn.  He was a founder of the Afro-Asian and Caribbean Lawyers Association in 1969.  This association was later renamed the Society of Black Lawyers.

   A champion for equality, Mr. Narayan, was recognized in Britain's growing West Indian community and beyond as the lawyer one went to fight the growing wave of racial intolerance and police brutality that seemed reserved for certain segments of the British population.  Mr. Narayan fought tirelessly in defence of many clients of African descent.

   Mr. Narayan's legal career took a dramatic downward turn once he learned that solicitors were refusing to refer clients to him on the false pretext that he was not available.  He publicly denounced the racism and discrimination which he saw in the legal establishment.  In 1974 he faced a disciplinary hearing for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute after condemning solicitors, barristers and judges in Birmingham as racist.  In 1980 he was reprimanded for being
discourteous to a judge.  In 1982 he was successful in defending a professional misconduct charge stemming from his claiming in a press statement that the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions were in "collusion with the National Front and fanning the flames of racial hatred"(although he was suspended for six weeks for other infractions).

   Ironically, complaints like Mr. Narayan's brought about the creation of the Bar Council's race relations committee in 1984 and an amendment to the Race Relations Act to prohibit race discrimination in Britain's legal profession.  Mr. Narayan was ultimately disbarred in 1994.  He died on June 28th, 1998 of liver cirrhosis at Kings College Hospital.

NOTE:  Full credit is extended to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia as the source of the information for this post.  I published this post here because we in Ontario continue to grapple with the issues of racial discrimination in our administration of justice in much the same way that Britain did and continues to. The post is published with the hope that perhaps we can learn something from the life of Barrister Rahasya Narayan.

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