Angry defendant "threw acid at lawyers"

LONDON (Reuters) - A female barrister screamed in pain as acid was thrown at her after a man had his case dismissed, a jury heard on Tuesday.

Pupil barrister Lucy Colter, and other lawyers, had hydrochloric acid thrown at them after Ashok Mahajan had his case for discrimination thrown out last October, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Some of the highly corrosive liquid seared into her eye, while more stung her mouth, spattered one of her arms and landed on her legs, immediately melting her tights and burning her skin, the Press Association reported.

The jury heard that when pungent fumes filled the courtroom and people struggled to breath, Mahajan continued to spray the solution over his victims.

Indian-born Mahajan, 55, now a British citizen of Penpath Place, Wembley, denies three counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily with intent.

He also denies three lesser alternatives without the intent aspect.

The court heard how the incident had its roots in a failed race discrimination action against employment agency AOC Ltd and Kingston Primary Care Trust.

Following the case Mahajan brought a negligence claim against his former solicitors Hodge Jones and Allen.

When it was struck out in January last year, Mahajan appealed and a new hearing, where he represented himself, was listed at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Philip Bennetts prosecuting said as Mahajan’s appeal was dismissed he got up to leave. When the judge asked him to remain he allegedly “hurled abuse at all and threw acid over the legal team,” the jury was told.

Colter later told police he sprayed the acid at them “quite a few times to make sure he got us,” the court heard.

“The liquid rained around us and was all up my right leg and over my right arm.”

Bennetts said security staff were quickly on the scene and Mahajan was arrested.

When asked what he was trying to do, he allegedly replied: “I was trying to blind them... they’re all Nazis,” the court heard.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; editing by Avril Ormsby