18th September 2018
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Man who kicked boy after racist taunts walks free

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A Hungarian man has walked free from court with no blemish on his record after he admitted assaulting a 12 year-old boy following more than half an hour of racial abuse.Zsolt Kolozsvari, 44, of Pegasus Place, Lerwick, kicked the boy on the body in an attempt to knock his carton of chips out of his hand inorder to teach him a lesson.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard yesterday that Kolozsvari, who has lived in the isles for 10 years, snapped after a boy told him to “go f*** your mother”. He had intended to knock the chips out of his hand.

The incident at the Clickimin Leisure Centre on 9th November last year happened just two months after Kolozsvari’s mother died following two and a half years of hospital care.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Kolozsvari was playing football in the sports centre with Hungarian friends when a group of youngsters began directing derogatory comments at them.

“The accused remonstrated with the boys, which maybe was his mistake, and that the best course of action would have been to speak to staff at the leisure centre for them to deal with the boys,” Mr MacKenzie said.

The fiscal said the complainer denied “absolutely” that it was him that made the offensive comment. But he added that the Crown accepted the comment had been made.

“In reaction to the comment that was made to him the accused kicked out, with the intention of kicking the chips out of the boys hand,” Mr MacKenzie said.

“Clearly he’s quite a big man and it was a 12 year-old boy. It wasn’t a significant degree of force, but it was enough to knock the boys hands and chips into his face. The boy was frightened and upset by that.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan said the hard-working joiner and bricklayer had been working and providing for his family in the isles for the last 10 years. He had never been in trouble before, either here or in his native Hungary, and was a “genuine” first offender.

Kolozsvari had never suffered any racial abuse in the isles before this incident, the agent said. He and his friends had been playing five-a-side football when the group of boys came into the hall carrying chips and drinks in their hands.

Mr Allan said the youngsters deliberately left a gate leading into the hall open, which posed a hazard to the players.

Before long comments were being directed at the players, such as “f****** foreign gypsies” and “f****** foreigners”. Chips were thrown onto the court, and phrases such as “eat, you foreign gypsies” were made.

Mr Allan said Kolozsvari approached the youngsters after 30 to 40 minutes and asked them to leave. But he was given yet more verbal abuse and was called a “foreign C-word”.

He asked them to leave, but one of the boys, who was believed by Kolozsvari to be the complainer, said “go f*** your mother”.

“Mr Kolozsvari asked him what he had said and he repeated it. Mr Kolozsari’s mother had just passed away two months prior to this incident after two and a half years of hospital care. He lost his temper, kicked out at the box of chips and asked him to leave.”

Sheriff Philip Mann said he would approach the case on the basis that there was “substantial provocation”.

The sheriff said: “It’s accepted by the Crown that these very offensive comments were made.

“These are comments that, if those who uttered them were prosecuted for making these comments, it would likely result in quite a stern sentencing approach from the court.

“You have to accept that you ought not to have acted in the way that you did and I endorse that that is the case.

“It is unfortunate you were not able to control your emotions and your temper at the time, but to my mind it is entirely understandable that this happened.”

The sheriff said this was a relatively rare case where, despite the fact there had been an assault on a 12 year-old boy, justice would be served by granting an absolute discharge – a step rarely taken in the courts.

“You may leave the court,” he told Kolozsvari. “You will have no criminal conviction against your record.”