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Man made racial slur in taxi

A MAN from Lerwick who threw a racial slur at a taxi driver before breaking his glasses in a struggle after being told to sit down has been fined and told to pay compensation.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Thursday that Alexander Wishart, of Sandveien, called the driver a “f*cking Polish pr*ck” before seizing hold of him.

The 26 year old admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner within a private hire taxi at Da Vadill in Lerwick on 5 November, struggling with the driver and committing a breach of the peace.

The charge stated that it would be proved in terms of section 96 of the crime and disorder act 1998 that the offence was racially aggravated.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said Wishart had been drinking before the offence occurred.

He grabbed hold of the driver by the face after being told to quieten down and in the process he broke the man’s glasses, which cost £400 to repair.

“The comment that he made was the most offensive thing he could think of at the time,” Mackenzie said.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said a taxi came to pick up Wishart, his partner and some friends from a house party at around 3.30am.

He said he felt his client’s comments in the vehicle may have been “hot air rather than any deep-seated prejudice”.

Kelly said Wishart apologised soon after to the driver, who dropped them off at a taxi office, and added that he wished to again apologise publicly in court to the man.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank fined Wishart £225 and ordered him to pay £400 in compensation.

“People need to realise that taxi drivers are providing a valuable service and they should not be subjected to this sort of behaviour,” he said.