21st August 2018
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Sheriff fines “racist thug” £700 after incident at Scalloway Hotel

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A Burra man described as a “drunken racist thug” after insulting a hotel chef was fined £700 at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday.

Robert Laurenson, 26, of Hamnavoe, made the outburst after causing a scene at the Scalloway Hotel on Friday night.

Laurenson had been “making a nuisance” of himself on the night, repeatedly refusing to leave despite being told to by the manager. He only left after being told the police had been called.

But before doing so he hurled abuse at the Indian chef, who happened to step out of the hotel kitchen at the wrong time, calling him a “Paki c***”.  Laurenson was taken into custody and spent the weekend in the cells.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the chef had had “no involvement” with Laurenson before the offence took place.

“The chef is from the Indian sub-continent and happened to walk from the kitchen to the public area,” Mr MacKenzie said. “The accused saw him and effectively let rip with the comment libelled.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said police had been called because of Laurenson’s “drunken behaviour and his refusal to leave the premises,” rather than any racial aspect to the evening.

He said Laurenson, who has no “history or knowledge of the complainer” had been in a “bad mood” because he was being ejected from the hotel.

“It was something he blurted out,” Mr Allan said. ” He realised it was not something he should have said immediately afterwards.” He said Laurenson was not able to apologise to the chef, but tried to apologise to the manager. The manager, by that time however, had had enough of him.

Mr Allan said Laurenson, who was visited by his wife and father while in custody, was “ashamed and sorry” for what he had done.

However, Sheriff Graeme Napier said the full-time offshore worker had been a “disgrace.” He said: “You are a drunken, racist thug.  These thoughts don’t just come from nowhere.” He restricted the fine from £1,000 to reflect Laurenson’s early plea.

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