Crofter fined for ut­ter­ing racially of­fen­sive re­marks

The Oban Times - - News -

A CROFTER from Arive­g­aig, Achar­a­cle, ap­peared be­fore Fort Wil­liam Sher­iff Court on Mon­day charged with shout­ing, swear­ing and ut­ter­ing racially of­fen­sive re­marks at an English­man.

‘But I’m English,’ said Sean Reid, 53, of MacNeil’s Croft, dur­ing his de­fence.

‘My fam­ily are English and it would be fi­nan­cial sui­cide for my busi­ness – 80 per cent of my cus­tomers are English.’

Reid, who rents out a house and car­a­vans on his croft de­nied the of­fence on Au­gust 12 last year and also de­nied shout­ing, swear­ing and act­ing in an ag­gres­sive man­ner and ut­ter­ing threats on Oc­to­ber 29, 2015.

Sher­iff Gor­don Fleet­wood heard the of­fences in­volved the oc­cu­pants of the neigh­bour­ing croft, an English fam­ily, and that there was bad feel­ing be­tween the par­ties. Neigh­bour An­thony Smith, 55, told the court that in the Au­gust 2016 in­ci­dent, Reid had shouted at him, when his car was parked in the com­mon graz­ing ac­cess be­tween their prop­er­ties: ‘Have a nice day you ****ing English mo­ron, have a nice day you ****ing English pig. Why don’t you just **** off, no­body likes you.’

Reid also en­cour­aged a ter­rier dog he had with him to go af­ter the Smith fam­ily’s cat, which had gone onto Reid’s croft.

Reid de­nied this, say­ing rental cus­tomers were out in the croft grounds at the time and shout­ing such re­marks and that be­hav­iour would be ‘fi­nan­cial sui­cide’.

He had been walk­ing the dog around the croft and came across Smith who stood star­ing and smil­ing at him and Reid told him: ‘I’m con­tact­ing the po­lice.’

But Smith’s wife gave ev­i­dence sup­port­ing her hus­band and said she felt ‘afraid, alarmed, help­less’.

Dur­ing the Oc­to­ber 2015 in­ci­dent Mr Smith said he had parked his ve­hi­cle in the graz­ing ac­cess to un­load feed when Reid be­gan shout­ing at him ‘get off the ****ing track you p****, get off the ****ing track you ****hole’ and added ‘ You are ****ing dead meat’, and made a fin­ger across the throat ges­ture. Smith de­nied all this, say­ing that in the dark of an Oc­to­ber evening he would not have walked across his croft, as Smith de­scribed, as it had deep trenches and boggy land. Dur­ing his ev­i­dence, Reid told the court the cou­ple were act­ing out of ‘re­sent­ment and envy’. ‘I had to con­tact the plan­ning depart­ment about their croft,’ he said adding that he felt the cou­ple wanted re­venge.

Sher­iff Fleet­wood found Reid guilty and fined the first-time of­fender a to­tal of £700.

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