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Northumbria Uni law students’ anger at first year who posted boyfriend’s racist rant on Instagram

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Both since handed police cautions

Screenshots of the Instagram stories featuring the law student and her boyfriend

A Northumbria University law student has come under fire from her classmates after she posted her boyfriend’s racist rant on her Instagram, in a move which has led to them both receiving a police caution.

Personal trainer Richard Heslop can be seen making a number of racist and offensive remarks in viral footage which appeared on his law student girlfriend’s Instagram story. The first year undergrad, who Legal Cheek doesn’t see much point in naming, has been widely criticised online over her failure to challenge Heslop’s rant during the footage, on several occasions even smiling. She doesn’t, however, make any offensive comments herself.

The student is understood to be in her first year of her LLB (Masters) at Northumbria Uni and appears to have deleted her Instagram account. This comes after the original clip was re-shared widely across various social media platforms. Part of the footage (embedded below — please note it contains extremely offensive content) remains online via an unassociated account.

Responding to the social media backlash, before appearing to delete his own Instagram account, the law student’s boyfriend purportedly offered the following explanation: “I think by the tone of my voice on that vid you realise I’m impersonating someone and you can tell I’m not being serious.”

The post has sparked outrage among the law student’s peers. In open letter to Northumbria University’s vice chancellor, professor Andrew Wathey, final year law student Mohima Khan says:

“For someone that is studying a law degree, this behaviour is not compatible with the profession, or any profession as a matter of fact. Northumbria University expects students to conduct themselves in a proper manner in line with the policies and regulations. For a law degree, especially the MLaw course that is regulated by a professional body, the actions of this student clearly demonstrates their character and suitability is in need of questioning. As an aspiring member of the legal profession, [the law student] has shown a lack of understanding and integrity.”

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Accompanying the letter is an online petition which has so far received 487 signatures. The open letter continues:

“Following the circulation of the video over social media platforms, I cannot imagine that [the law student] will have much of a respectable legal career to pursue at all, given the behaviour raises ‘fitness to practice’ concerns. To allow this student to continue on with a degree, where the profession holds them in a position of trust with the public, will be an absolute disgrace and mockery. Northumbria must not condone this behaviour.”

In a more serious development, Northumbria Police today confirmed that both individuals who featured in the video had been issued police cautions.

“Today the two people who featured in the video attended the police station and were interviewed by detectives,” a spokesperson for Northumbria Police told Legal Cheek. “Both individuals apologised for their behaviour and were remorseful over the impact of their actions, they have both been issued police cautions.”

The spokesperson continued:

“The type of language used in the video is completely unacceptable and we have made that clear to these two individuals. Whenever we are made aware of discrimination of this nature then will not hesitate to take action. We would encourage anyone who becomes aware of this type of behaviour contacts police and we will treat it as a hate crime.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Northumbria University said: “After being made aware of posts shared on social media involving someone who is alleged to be one of our students, we immediately reported this incident to the police. We also announced that we would be undertaking our own internal investigation, following the conclusion of the police investigation.”

It added: “The University will investigate in line with its own formal disciplinary processes, outlined in our student regulations. Appropriate action will be taken in line with our policies. Northumbria University does not condone any of the comments in the posts. They do not reflect the views of the University. We do not tolerate any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination.”

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85 Comments

?

The ?? comments ?? on ?? this ?? story ?? are ?? going ?? to ?? be ?? gold!

*fetches an evening’s worth of popcorn*

(71)(1)

Anonymous

Sadly, we live in a world where the serried ranks of the hysterical woke fail to get the concept of irony or sarcasm.

(11)(8)

Society

Sadly, we live in a world

(7)(0)

who

sadly, we live.

(7)(0)

what

Sadly

Anon

Weird response from Northumbria University. She is not part of the legal profession and they are not a regulator. Her conduct is presumably not criminal. So what’s the issue? Is it illegal to be either a student or a bigot in our enlightened times?

(31)(47)

Anon

Looks like it could be an offence under s.127 of the Communications Act 2003, so could be considered criminal

(20)(0)

Anon

Looks like I breach s127(1) everyday before breakfast.

(9)(10)

Anon

Ooh you’re cool

(11)(3)

Anonymous

You miss the point 5:58 – s.127 is terrifying in its Orwellian scope.

Anon

Anything that annoys the snowflake and the woke could be an offence under that ridiculous section.

(11)(10)

Keeping low on Tudor Street

Tread lightly my friend, these are terrifying times.

(21)(8)

Anonymous

I know. It is so hard to know what the easily offended find offensive. It seems to change daily.

(4)(1)

Melania Trump

I mean I think racial slurs against people of colour from THREE different ethnic groups, then the smart decision to move on to homosexuals, the poor before finally going for nurses and making paedophilia jokes all in the same session is pretty up there in terms of being offensive but u do u hon.

(19)(4)

Anonymous

I find the phrase “u do u hon” more offensive.

Anon

If it wasn’t a criminal offence, they could not have cautioned them. For a caution to be issued they have to have admitted an offence.

(16)(3)

Anon

Police caution a lot for things that would never make it past the mags.

(1)(3)

Associate-from-home

Illegal? Has she been arrested?

(1)(1)

anon

Have you read the article? She received a caution.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Never accept a caution!

(5)(1)

Anon

Since Northumbria offers a degree which has an undergraduate study LPC modules throughout the duration of the course, students need to be registered with the SRA as an undergrad.

This is probably the reason.

(33)(0)

Ke

If her behaviour had nothing to do with criminality then she should not have accepted a caution, which is effectively an admission that she behaved criminally. I see that most people agree. But, I do wonder whether it was a good use of police time. I had my car damaged a few years ago, just after the suspected perpetrator returned from holiday. Whilst he was on holiday I was sent some vile texts related to my taking to court his girl friend’s employer. His girl friend aided and abetted their unlawful activities. The police did turn up but failed to do any follow up of the evidence I had. But, that might have taken a little work. This case with this couple was easy, ‘invent’ a crime by exaggerating the wrongdoing to increase their clear up rate to make them look better at fighting crime.

(0)(7)

Lucy

How can you compare this racist disgusting behaviour to your car?
You idiot

(12)(3)

Anon

You are right. Property damage and intimidation of those using the justice system are far more serious than potentially offending those that do not understand irony and sarcasm in a relatively minor online publication. The twin creep in recent years of criminal law into both online activity and the perceived need to protect people from being offended has gone way too far.

(10)(3)

Legal

Thank you

(0)(0)

Archibald Pomp O'City

Lucy, don’t be rude and insulting please. If you want to rebut an argument, then develop your own argument. Resorting to insults might seem ‘pithy’ but it cheapens the discourse.

(0)(1)

Urgh

We’re not jealous of your knuckle-dragging boyfriend hun – we’re laughing because you’re too chicken to walk

(32)(1)

Anon Newcastle

She’s clearly thick but I am a bit uncomfortable about cancel culture and the idea that she might be thrown out of Uni for this. His views are vile but she hasn’t said anything herself. I also question whether that’s a good use of police time to caution them.
It shows what a cesspit social media is and how if you want a legal career or any sort of career, you need to stay away from it.

(87)(9)

Anon

Hear hear, stay away from social media kids.

(4)(0)

TMF

Does anyone know how the SRA would view a police caution for this if she was to get a TC? As I understand it this would be a potential disqualifier.

(10)(0)

Anon

Not necessarily. I did my TC with a woman who has a police caution for beating up their sister.

(12)(0)

Britney

I told you not to tell anyone! Why you little…

(5)(0)

Archibald Pomp O'City

Whose sister? Who are THEY? Was this a sibling Lord of the Flies?

(1)(0)

LLABBMP

She would be able to get a TC, but the SRA might reject her as all cautions are visible for 11 years.

(1)(0)

Magic Circle lawyer

Can someone highlight the racist parts of that video ?

(18)(24)

Woke Bloke

I have not seen it, but it definitely racist and the whole thing is a disgrace! Can I get a job now ahead of people with better qualifications than me?

(9)(3)

Helpful reply

Here is the other racist part of the video on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/7200LDS/status/1270038387655925760?s=20

(6)(0)

Curious Clive

I watched both videos and can’t understand a word that chap is saying, let alone whether what he mumbled through was “racist”. Could someone please provide us who are unable to make out his words with an abbreviated transcript?

Genuine question, not trying to wind up.

(20)(3)

LOL

It’s hilarious that he is so critical of foreigners, when he himself can’t grasp the English language in a way that makes sense.

(11)(2)

Big racist ooof

(3)(0)

Diane Abbott

He’s dumb for saying it she’s even dumber for uploading it. Oh, and for choosing Northumbria.

(20)(16)

Anon

What a needlessly rude comment, what an utter shit of a human you must be to have thought that this was a good idea.

(7)(22)

Anonymous

We’ve got multiple people defending his right to ‘free speech’ and saying people are too ‘woke’, when what they posted was actively hate speech and loaded with racial slurs against pretty much every minority you can think of, but you’re here getting offended because somebody says Northumbria’s a bad uni. Are you a straight, white man by any chance hon? If not you’re about as resilient as one.

(5)(2)

Anon 2: electric boogaloo

What a needlessly rude comment, what an utter shit of a human you must be to have thought that this was a good idea.

(0)(0)

Andrew Neill - the cake they left out in the rain

DIANE ABBOTT!!!!!

(0)(0)

Iapetus

This eloquent gent is clearly a top, top titan and I would encourage him to apply for a training contract at Greenberg Glusker LLP.

Our Northumbria office has been handling mid-market M&A and road traffic accident claims since it was founded in 880 AD by Oughtred ‘the Litigious’ Greenberg, who is famous for massacring 100 monks and inventing the CDO in a single day.

(39)(1)

Tunbridge Wells resident

Does that chap speak English? I can’t understand a word he’s saying.

(10)(1)

tips@legalcheek.com

These kids are clearly stupid but does this article requite the “please note it contains extremely offensive content” warning? Half of YouTube content is more offensive than this video.

(9)(1)

Anonymous

I have no idea what he is saying, I need subtitles since I only speak English.

(9)(1)

Humphrey

She’ll be a big shot city partner one day, I am sure.

(2)(3)

No

From Northumbria?

(5)(2)

Titanus

Her career prospects were doomed before the police caution so makes no difference really.

(19)(1)

What!

Is this what the legal profession has come to? Very sad.

(0)(0)

Anon

I’ve heard much worse antisemitism and Islamophobia from members of the Bar whilst down the pub.

This included (amongst other things) being told by a barrister the area I grew up in within North London is “too Jewish” and interrogating me angrily on why I was holding a glass of wine when I have a parent born in the Middle East.

No – it’ll be my word against theirs in front of the BSB. At least one benefit of smartphones is that we now capture racism on camera.

Absolutely incredible the people who are more upset about this student losing the TC than the fact she/he could repeat the same vile comments towards BAME clients. Would you employ anyone who could be a liability?

(22)(6)

Anonymous

Woah bit of a jump there wouldn’t you say?

People hold ignorant views. That is a fact. How we deal with people’s ignorance as a society says a lot about us and whether we can build a better one. What do we do instead? Issue police cautions. Cancel culture. That is very unlikely to lead to the better society we are all hoping for.

No one is “more upset” about the fact she might lose a TC than the fact she could “repeat these comments to a BAME client”. What does that even mean…we just seem to be moving towards a society where dissent from the false-woke (because most are fake woke let’s be real) results in extreme outrage.

We all agree that racism/ignorance is bad. It’s the overreaction, the focusing on the most irrelevant issues that is taking the Mickey. Some people probably don’t care about bigotry at all and just care about the overreaction. That is a shame but what can we do? They have a point.

She’s a first year…not to be rude but who cares? How irrelevant is her existence to any form of power or politics… It is questionable to share so much of your life on social media anyhow and that kind of behaviour would have excluded her from the legal profession naturally, the Darwinist way.

Time would be better spent devising practical solutions to our problems instead of cancelling an irrelevant student from Northumbria.

(5)(8)

Anonymous

Shockingly, some people don’t want to build a better society.

They don’t want to change their views. They will keep finding excuse after excuse to justify holding racist views as acting ‘rationally’. They will never want their kids to marry anyone from Africa/Asia and they will want as few of them as possible in their office.

These people will hold on to racist views regardless of whether they are caught on camera or not. By all means, they are absolutely entitled to think and say what they want. But at the same time, I feel law firms also have a right to shun these people because of the liability their views could cause to the firms.

(10)(3)

Anonymous

If they keep their views to themselves and bill hard, why should their thoughts matter?

Anon

‘ If they keep their views to themselves and bill hard, why should their thoughts matter?’

Does that apply too to people that support terrorists, even if they don’t actually commit terrorism?

Would you still want them at your firm if they ‘bill hard’? Why is secret a hatred of one type of people acceptable but not the other?

Anonymous

Well, if they keep their views to themselves and bill hard, why should their thoughts matter?

Anonymous

Oh my gosh thank u next, I think this reply is so indicative of the issue with the UK’s current climate. The average person is more outraged at accusing somebody of being racist than they are at actual racism.

If you really cared about eradicating racism then you’d want perpetrators of racist speech to have repercussions. Nobody’s saying they should be locked in a dungeon for 30 years, but there need to be repercussions. Yes, let’s try and dismantle systemic racism too, but it’s not ‘cancel culture’ to hold somebody accountable for their wrongdoings, it’s called ‘justice’.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

I am outraged at the massive levels of serious crimes of violence, gun crime and knife crime in my city and how that crime is six times more common among black youths than white youths. I am outraged that the protestors are not trying to do something about that instead of protesting about statues. I really don’t care that much what people do on social media. I do care about vile thugs knifing people for their watches.

Lord Legalus of Cheekus

The only offence committed here was enrolling into Northumbria University.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Can someone please post a translation?? I don’t know what language that chap is speaking

(2)(1)

Winston Smith

Thought crime does not entail death.

Thought crime IS death.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Poor woman. Blighted by an over-enthusiastic police force pandering to banal current events, the ridiculous caution system and a stupidly wide s.127 offence. This sort of thing should never waste police time.

(10)(6)

Can’t Believe These People Claim To Be Adults

Why don’t you ask your firm to invite her to apply for a TC if you feel she has been so grossly mistreated?

I’m sure clients, particularly those born outside the UK, would love to be represented by a solicitor who laughs when they hear racist comments.

(9)(5)

Anonymous

Have you seen her?

(9)(2)

Sam

“Banal current events?”

Well, no one appeared to say anything when police were over-enthusiastically stopping British Africans on the streets and searching them.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

“Over enthusiastically”? Hardly. Stop and search is proportionate to relative criminality rates by race. The protestors should be worrying less about statues and more about why the black community commits so many robberies and gun crimes.

(1)(2)

Nonny

Why “over-enthusiastically”? Seems proportionate to me, though LC keeps censoring posts citing official data but the truth is unfortunate for the cause of the SJWs. Sad we are not allowed to quote facts for fear of upsetting the over sensitive. Odd the double standards. People come on here and accuse others of racist posts but then fail to cite any examples and their posts stay up; but cite data and you get censored. Sad times we live in, sad times.

(3)(1)

Anonymous Ciaran Goggins

Geordies don’t count.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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