Friday, 2 March 2012

Racially aggravated conviction for joggers loving thug

By Cristiana Theodoli, @_cric_

An argument over a defective pair of jogging bottoms lead to a Glasgow man being convicted for a racially aggravated breach of the peace today.
Robert Martin, 39, was convicted of behaving in an abusive manner likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm.
The incident, which happened on November 15 last year in Shandwick Square's Shopping Centre in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow, took place when Mr Martin tried to return a pair of training bottoms after finding a whole in them.
During the trial, most of which took place at an earlier date, Sheriff Charles McFarlane QC heard that Martin's partner had tried to return the trousers the night before but the shop's manager refused to refund her.
The shop manager, a Mr Saltar, had told the court that the woman had been “cheeky”.
Yet in cross-examination he was asked by Defence Counsel Tracy Paterson if it was not the case that Martin went to the shop to confront him after he had been “cheeky” to his partner.
As he was accused of a relatively minor offence Martin was charged on complaint, known as a summary case, meaning that his trial was heard in front of the sheriff alone, without a jury.
After hearing today's closing speeches from both Fiscal Depute Emma Harris and the defence agent the sheriff retired to considered his verdict.
Upon his return to the bench he said: “I considered carefully all the evidence in this case, both the complainer Mr Saltar and the shopping centre's janitor spoke to the accused shouting at the complainer and there was also evidence that he swore at the complainer.
“With regard to the alleged racist remarks the complainer in evidence stated that the accused referred to him as a 'black bastard'. He said 'you are quick enough to take my money you black bastard'.
“The janitor also said that he heard the accused swear at the complainer. He said the accused comment was not very appropriate because he perceived it to relate to his race.
“I come to the view that the accused is guilty of the breach of the peace by shouting and swearing. In these circumstances I have come to the view that the breach of the peace was aggravated by the racist remark and I find the accused guilty of the charge.”
The sheriff then called for a criminal justice social work report and adjourned sentencing to a later date.
Carried out by social workers the report will assess Martin's lifestyle to support the sheriff's decision on whether a custodial sentence is appropriate or not.
A regular requirement when considering the best course of action to ensure a convicted criminal will not fall into a pattern of re-offending, it will include an assessment aimed at identifying risk-traits such as drug or alcohol abuse or a possible history of mental illness.
Martin's bail was continued, he will be due back at Glasgow Sheriff Court in March 30 to be sentenced.

Cristiana Theodoli's blog can be found here: [Wordpress]
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