A Muslim solicitor who was suspended from work by the Crown Prosecution Service after joking at Bradford Magistrates Court she was a friend of Osama bin Laden has been awarded a record £600,000 payout for racial discrimination.

An employment tribunal found that there was “not a shred of evidence” to support the treatment of Halima Aziz by the CPS and ordered it to reinstate her and issue a full and unequivocal apology, according to documents seen by Channel 4 News.

The seven-year battle has cost the taxpayer an additional £500,000 in legal costs, said the programme.

Ms Aziz said she would have accepted a simple apology after the initial incident and was “100% certain” she would have been treated differently if she was not Muslim and of Asian origin.

The lawyer was working at Bradford Crown Court in October 2001 - a month after 9/11 - when she was accused of blaming the terror attacks in the US on “Jews”.

Ms Aziz denies making this comment, saying that in fact she joked, as she was going through a security check at the court, that she was being treated like a friend of Bin Laden.

She was suspended from duty while a complaint from the court was investigated. She was cleared of all allegations in 2002.

Now the Employment Tribunal has found that senior officials at the CPS were guilty of racial discrimination for the way they handled her case and that a previous inquiry run by chief executive Peter Lewis was a “whitewash”.

Its judgment stated: “This would be a completely unacceptable response on the part of any employer, but for a public body like the Crown Prosecution Service it can only be regarded as astonishing.”

Ms Aziz’s lawyer Mark Emery, of Bindmans solicitors, called for an independent inquiry.

“According to this judgment, serious questions have got to be asked at chief executive level and it is possible that questions have got to be asked higher up the chain,” he told C4N.

“It does ask questions about public confidence in the CPS’s ability to handle very sensitive race-related prosecutions if, at the heart of the CPS - at the senior echelons of the CPS, there is such wilful failure to comply with race relations legislation.

“I think the public is entitled to ask how can the CPS properly prosecute these kinds of cases.”

Ms Aziz said: “(The CPS) still haven’t given me an apology for what they have done. If they had apologised to me right at the beginning words would have been enough.

“I am 100% certain this would not have happened unless I had been a Muslim and Asian.”

She said she was hoping to use the payout to build an orphanage in Pakistan. The case was not about money but “about getting my job back and saying what (they did) was wrong”, she said.

In a statement, the CPS said: “The CPS accepts the recommendations made by the Employment Tribunal and will be implementing them as a matter of priority. We offer a full apology to Halima Aziz.

“The CPS decision to contest this matter was made in good faith after having taken independent legal advice and this advice was borne out by the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal which ruled in the CPS’s favour in 2005.

“As the Employment Tribunal judgment makes clear, the judgment relates solely to the ‘very particular circumstances’ of this one case. It does not question the overall approach and policies the CPS has pursued in the field of equality and diversity.

“The CPS takes equality and diversity very seriously, both in relation to its employees and the public. Our positive progress since 2001 has been recognised by a number of outside bodies.

“The CPS is committed to securing a workforce that reflects the communities it serves, at all levels, and is succeeding in this. Of the most senior prosecutor group within the CPS, chief crown prosecutors, currently over 13% are from ethnic minority backgrounds, as are over 13% of the total staff. This profile is exceptional within the public sector.

“The CPS has an on-going commitment to providing a working environment that ensures all its staff are treated with dignity and respect.”