A drunk man who made racially-aggravated comments at a hairdressers was warned he could be facing a custodial sentence when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court today.
Owen Haughian, 28, of Burgh Road in Lerwick repeated the words “f****** Paki” after finishing a conversation by mobile phone as a stylist was cutting his hair. The incident happened at the Eclipse Hair Studio in the Toll Clock on Friday.
The hairdresser challenged Haughian about his choice of words, but he responded by sneering and being abusive, upsetting her so much she retreated tearfully to the salon’s staff room. She was joined by two other women working at the salon, who were fearful of what Haughian might do.
When the proprietor returned he became aware of the disturbance and told Haughian to leave. Haughian got out of his chair and “squared up” to the proprietor, swearing at him, calling him a “Paki faggot”.
Haughian then went out and fell on the ground, pretending to have a fit. While on the ground he threw open the door with such force it hit a display stand inside the salon, knocking it over and destroying hair-care products worth £409.73.
Haughian was arrested by police the following day. Challenged over his language he said: “I didn’t call him a Paki. I said it to myself but he thought I had said it to him. You probably shouldn’t say it to yourself, but freedom of speech, you know.”
During his time in custody he accepted to police he has a problem controlling his behaviour while drinking. Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Haughian had displayed “appalling behaviour, which was very upsetting for a number of people”.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Haughian wanted to tender a “massive apology” for his antics. “He said he was totally ashamed and totally mortified,” he added.
Mr Allan said Haughian, a fish worker, had been in custody since Saturday evening, after being taken from his mother’s house in Ollaberry. He had “struggled to find a routine for himself” after his four-year relationship had ended. However, he was now looking to turn over a new leaf. “This has been a wake-up call for him, and he plans to stop drinking and start going to the gym,” Mr Allan said.
Sheriff Graeme Napier said the type of offence would merit a custodial sentence. However, he deferred sentence for background reports.
Releasing him on bail he warned him to stay out of trouble in the meantime, adding it would not be a good idea to return to the salon to ask for the other half of his haircut.