Racist jibes send man to jail for four months

A Newton Stewart man who directed racial jibes towards a Turkish restaurant owner in Stranraer has been jailed for four months.

John McShane, 21, of 12 Douglas Terrace pleaded guilty to a string of charges relating to an incident on September 19 when he entered the Star Fish Restaurant on Charlotte Street at around 6.15pm as it was full of customers – some families with young children.

Stranraer Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday that McShane had entered the premises with food he had bought elsewhere, and was clearly quite drunk.

The owner, Mr Gunar, asked him to leave but McShane became aggressive and abusive and began shouting and swearing.

At this point, two other staff members appeared and asked McShane to leave quietly.

Fiscal Paula Forbes said: “Mr McShane then began mimicking Mr Gunar’s accent and it was felt by witnesses these actions were racially motivated.

“The staff continued to urge Mr McShane outside but he continued fighting. He eventually left but quickly returned and picked up a nearby metal chair, which Mr Gunar attempted to remove from him.”

Police were called and when they took McShane to their vehicle, he refused to get in and began to struggle with the officers, hitting out at one of them.He also refused to co-operate and was soon found to have £5 of cannabis on him.

Lawyer Paul Feeney said McShane recognised one of the staff members as someone with whom he had a ‘turbulent past’.

He added that his client’s actions were “more of a wind-up but accepts they could have been misconstrued.”

Sheriff Kenneth Robb told McShane: “This was a busy restaurant where there were presumably a number of families with children watching, hoping to be out for the evening to enjoy a civilised meal.

“But in you come shouting and swearing like this. It must have been terrifying for them to witness. It’s simply not acceptable.”