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Court / Man admits shouting racial insult to woman waiting for bus

Lerwick Sheriff Court

A TEENAGER has admitted stepping out of a Lerwick pub and shouting a racial slur at a young woman while she waited at a town centre bus stop.

Mike Laurenson, 18, of Bigton, had sentence deferred for a criminal justice report after pleading guilty to the racially aggravated offence when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that there had been no prior exchange between Laurenson and the complainer, who is also 18, before he shouted “n*gger” at her at the Esplanade on 5 June this year.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said it was “really quite difficult to know where to start”. The incident took place at around 5.30pm when Laurenson stepped outside the Thule Bar and shouted across the road at the complainer, who was waiting to catch a bus home.

“The only reason for him doing that was the colour of her skin,” Mackenzie told the court, adding it was “difficult to think of a more offensive word to use”.

Two others who were with Laurenson apologised to the complainer, who was “very upset” and did not reply.

After thinking about it for a few days she subsequently contacted the police.

Mackenzie added that Laurenson had later said he was “very sorry” and it was “something I’d take back if I could”.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said there was nothing to be offered in mitigation for his client’s action: “There is no valid reason or justification,” he said.

Sentence was deferred until 18 August while a criminal justice report is prepared.