On the night of his Christmas work party a Laurelvale man was assaulted but it was he who ended up in court for making racist comments.
Stewart Knox (20), Old Mill Manor admitted disorderly behaviour on December 19 last year. He was put on probation for two years.
The court heard that the case was prosecuted as a hate crime and had been adjourned for a pre-sentence report.
A prosecutor said that at 11.30pm in Mandeville Street door staff at a bar alerted police to the aggressive behaviour of the defendant.
Knox was swearing loudly using racial terms close to members of the public.
He was asked to tone down his language but the defendant directed his language towards a black male.
A solicitor representing the defendant said he had a relevant record and had a suspended sentence.
He added that it was quite clear the defendant had been the victim on an assault. He had been out at his Christmas work party and had drunk in excess of what he usually did.
The solicitor said Knox was ‘ranting and raving’ because of the assault but accepted his behaviour was unacceptable. He explained that it was a ‘black person’ who assaulted Knox although this was no excuse for his reaction.
The solicitor handed in a reference from the defendant’s employer and also from one of his work colleagues who was a foreign national who had worked with the defendant for a long time and never had any issues with him.
Referring to the defendant’s previous convictions he said it was a classic binge drinking situation where Knox had moved in with friends and began drinking at weekends.
District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, said he had no doubt that the events amounted to a hate crime.
He appreciated there were other factors and the other person was guilty of assault but the defendant was not justified in using the language he did.
The judge said that when Knox had alcohol taken he was an entirely different person and he was prepared to deal with it by way of a probation order.