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UK dentist was not victim of discrimination, judges rule November 14, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, dentist, Discrimination, UK.
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A British dentist who was thwarted in his attempt to work in Bermuda in 2001 was not illegally discriminated against, Court of Appeal judges have ruled.
A five-year saga surrounding David Thompson was put before three high-ranking judges who were asked to decide whether the Bermuda Dental Board was operating a discriminatory regulation at odds with the Human Rights Act.


At the centre of the argument was the Board’s contention that only persons with Bermudian status or the spouses of people with Bermudian status be allowed to sit the qualifying examination to practise as a dentist on the Island.


This was at odds with the 1981 Human Rights Act, according to lawyer David Kesseram who represented Dr. Thompson.
Mr. Kesseram pointed out that the Human Rights Act barred discrimination on the grounds of “place of origin”.


However, putting forward the Bermuda Dental Board’s case Russell Zinn QC and Melvin Douglas countered that the Bermudian status stipulation did not discriminate on the grounds of place of origin because it was quite possible for a person to have Bermudian status even if they are born overseas, such as when at least one of their parents has Bermudian status.


The Court of Appeal judges recognised there was a difficulty in defining exactly what is meant by “place of origin” but even so Court of Appeal President Justice Edward Zacca and Justices Sir Anthony Evans and Sir Charles Mantell concluded that the Dental Board had not breached the Human Rights Act with their regulations regarding who can and can’t take the qualifying examination.
They agreed that Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons had been correct in her ruling at the Supreme Court earlier this year that the Board had not breached the Human Rights Act.
Giving their reasons the Court of Appeal Judges said: “The judge, correctly in our view, distinguished ‘place of origin’ from nationality and she construed the phrase in the context of ‘race’ and ‘national origins’ as being of the same genus.”
However, the three Appeal Court judges disagreed with the implication that place of origin had any racial connotation in that: “The relevant genus is that of inherent characteristics acquired at birth, and ‘place of origin’ is acquired independently of race.”

C.a.r.d Source: The Royal Gazette

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