Crofter fined for uttering racially offensive remarks
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.