Student abuser appeals against verdict
A MAN who racially abused a Jewish student has launched an attempt to have his conviction overturned.
Paul Donnachie, of Blackpool, was sentenced to community service last September after he was found guilty of attacking Chanan Reitblat at a St Andrews University hall of residence.
During the incident, Donnachie, 19, put his hands down his trousers before wiping them on an Israeli flag. At Edinburgh’s High Court of Criminal appeal on Wednesday last week, his lawyer argued that the original trial had not been conducted correctly.
John Scott QC said Sheriff Charles Macnair QC had been wrong not to allow three witnesses to give evidence to prove Donnachie’s act had been a political protest rather than an attack on Mr Reitblat’s religious beliefs.
Donnachie was expelled from St Andrews after his conviction. Mr Scott said characterising Donnachie as antisemitic was a “grave insult”.
Lead prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC told the court that the evidence of the three witnesses would have been “irrelevant”. He said an academic discussion on the politics of the Middle East would have been of no help in the trial and would not have affected the verdict.
The judges will give a ruling within three months.