Con­victed big­ots should at­tend jus­tice schemes

Rutherglen Reformer - - Election Special - Staff re­porter

A lead­ing anti- big­otry char­ity say two men con­victed of hurl­ing abuse while protest­ing against a Repub­li­can march should be forced to take part in restora­tive jus­tice pro­grammes.

Alan Wil­liams, 38, and Wil­liam Wil­son, 52, were or­dered to carry out 300 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice for their part in in­ci­dents that took place in Castlemilk on Satur­day, Septem­ber 6, 2014.

Both men chanted “IRA sym­pa­this­ers” and “IRA scum” at police on the cor­don and sang the ‘famine song’ while wait­ing on the con­tro­ver­sial march, which was des­tined for Ruther­glen, to pass.

The pair say they dis­agreed with the march route, as it went past the old house of IRA vic­tim, Dougald McGaughey’s mother.

Nil by Mouth cam­paign di­rec­tor, Dave Scott, used the case to high­light the need to chal­lenge views rather than just pun­ish peo­ple.

He said: “This in­ci­dent once again high­lights the depth of feel­ing which marches - re­gard­less of whether they are repub­li­can or loy­al­ist - can stir in peo­ple. It’s al­ways pro­foundly de­press­ing when peo­ple ig­nore le­gal and civilised ways of protest­ing about things they don’t agree with and sim­ply spout hate, as seems to have been the case here.

“But if we are to chal­lenge at­ti­tudes and un­der­stand why these be­hav­iours linger in our so­ci­ety, courts need to look at some­thing in ad­di­tion to com­mu­nity pay­back or­ders, which leave such at­ti­tudes un­chal­lenged.

“We’d have liked the court to have been able to or­der the in­di­vid­u­als con­cerned to take part in pro­grammes aimed at ex­plor­ing their at­ti­tudes and meet oth­ers who hold a dif­fer­ent point of view.

“Does be­hav­ing in this way show the in­di­vid­u­als depth of feel­ing on the is­sue or sim­ply that they lack the abil­ity to ex­press their views in any­thing other then neg­a­tive ways?

“We’d be will­ing to work with the Crown Of­fice to cre­ate such a restora­tive jus­tice model which could form part of sen­tences like this in the fu­ture.”

Af­ter a trial at Glas­gow Sher­iff Court, Wil­liams, from Bridgeton and Wil­son, from Burn­side, were con­victed of breach­ing the peace, with a racial ag­gra­va­tion.

Both men ac­cepted be­ing at Castlemilk Drive and wait­ing on the march but de­nied try­ing to break the cor­don or shout­ing sec­tar­ian abuse, or in­cit­ing oth­ers to act in that way.

A num­ber of police gave ev­i­dence at the trial, pin­point­ing Wil­liams as the ring­leader who or­dered the 100 plus crowd to “charge” at of­fi­cers.

The trial heard that the march, which was due to move through Castlemilk to Ruther­glen, had to be aban­doned be­cause of con­cerns for pub­lic safety. When police were in­formed that there were protestors at Castlemilk Drive - where Wil­liams and Wil­son were - it was brought to an end, al­though the group were never told.

The Re­former re­ported last month that the fam­ily of Dougald McGaughey were still haunted by his death.

It’s al­ways pro­foundly de­press­ing when peo­ple ig­nore le­gal and civilised ways of protest­ing

Stopped The march had to be scrapped by police due to safety fears

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