INJUNCTION: Ministry of Justice have slapped gagging order on Almost British
THE MINISTRY of Justice has been slammed for banning the publication of a book telling the story of a prison service employee’s first-hand experiences of racism.
Olivea Ebanks penned the memoir Almost British describing her journey of taking her employers to tribunal for direct racial discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
Ebanks claims she was the victim of a number of incidents of racial discrimination between 2005 and 2006.
At a 2008 hearing, she won a partial victory against her bosses resulting in her being awarded an undisclosed sum in compensation.
But she decided she wanted to share her experience with others and decided to write the explosive tell-all expose.
The self-published book contained extracts from the actual emails presented to the tribunal and her personal diary of events and was due to hit shelves last September.
But the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which oversees the Prison Service, took out an injunction to prevent that from happening.
Now members of Ebanks’ family, close friends and supporters are campaigning to overturn the injunction.
They have written to Prime Minister David Cameron and deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and are urging Voice readers to support the campaign.
Ebanks is gagged from commenting because she is still employed as a civil servant.
Her furious 87-year-old mother Rubertha Brathwaite, however, told The Voice: “They told her to take down her website and [she] has been told that she can’t publish her book. I’m not glad about my daughter’s treatment so I’ve decided to take a stand where she can’t.
"She would like to take a stand against this injustice she has experienced but she can’t afford to lose her job, she has bills to pay. This is why I would like it to go public. Her book details her account of what she experienced so if this is a democratic society, why is she being prevented?”
An MoJ spokesman said: "Civil Servants must not publish material relating to their work at a Government department without seeking permission first. Ms Ebanks' book is unbalanced and misleading, and she has not been given permission to publish it.
"We take all allegations of harassment or discrimination very seriously, however Ms Ebanks' claims were misconceived and the tribunal upheld only four of her thirty-seven complaints. All four of those matters were found to be isolated acts by individuals in which no malice was intended."
The four claims upheld by the 2008 tribunal were harassment on racial grounds on March 28, 2006, direct racial discrimination and victimisation, racial harassment based on comments made at a meeting in October 2005 and victimisation on racial grounds based on an incident that occurred in August 2006.