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Man fined for racially abusing Raba staff

A MAN who drunkenly unleashed a foul-mouthed tirade of racist abuse at staff in the Raba restaurant has been fined £500 at Lerwick Sheriff Court.

Appearing from custody on Tuesday afternoon, 50 year old Desmond Bell, of Park Avenue, Cookstown in Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to carrying out a racially aggravated assault on a senior member of staff by punching him on the head.

He also admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing and racially abusing staff at the Commercial Road curry house shortly before midnight on Sunday.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Bell had turned up at the premises at around 11.45pm. He walked into the dining area to be told that food was no longer being served.

He responded by picking up a towel and wrapping it around his head, imitating a turban, and began mocking staff members by speaking in a “stylised Indian accent”.

Bell then began insulting staff, telling them to “fuck off” before asking one of them: “What are you doing in this country, you fucking Indian bastard?”

He was asked to leave and escorted from the premises, at which point he threw a punch. Two female customers who had been finishing their meal then decided to call the police.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said it had been “absolutely atrocious” behaviour from his client, who is unsure if he’ll be able to hold onto his job – a contract as a ground worker – as a result.

He said Bell, a divorced father of three who regularly dined at the restaurant, had been drinking heavily prior to the incident and has a “sparse recollection” of what happened. He was “heartfully sorry” and wished to apologise for his actions.

Allan added that Bell realised he might have to evaluate his relationship with alcohol as well as his attitude towards other people.

Sheriff Philip Mann agreed that it was “atrocious” conduct that “cannot be condoned in any way”.

“They [the restaurant staff] are entitled to be in this country and to go about their business without being abused by anyone,” he said.

He fined Bell a total of £500, reduced from £750 to reflect the early guilty plea, with £100 of the fine to reflect the racial nature of the offences.