Man fined for ‘atrocious’ abuse at Indian restaurant

A man has been left £500 out of pocket after he carried out an assault at an Indian restaurant and hurled racist abuse in an “atrocious” act.

Desmond Bell, 50, of Park Avenue, Cookstown, Northern Ireland, fell out of favour with staff at the Raba in Lerwick when he turned up drunk on Sunday night.

Raba Indian Restaurant
Staff at the Raba restaurant were subjected to racist abuse.

He became aggressive and shouted abuse at staff – at one point picking up a cloth and fashioning a makeshift turban for his head.

Bell, a groundworker on contract to the isles, was taken into custody on Monday and spent a night in the cells prior to his appearance in court.

In the dock before sheriff Philip Mann he admitted punching a man on the head in a racially aggravated manner.

He also pleaded guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner, shouting, swearing and being racially abusive towards members of staff.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Bell was drunk when he went into the restaurant shortly before midnight.

Bell was approached by a member of staff who told him the dining service had concluded for the evening.

“He was dissatisfied about that,” Mr MacKenzie told the court, adding two female customers, as well as staff, were subjected to his behaviour.

“He picked up a cloth from one of the tables and wrapped it round his head, imitating the turban headdress.”
Bell then spoke with a mock Indian accent but, despite being repeatedly asked to leave, launched a tirade of racial abuse.

He demanded of staff: “What are you doing in this country, you fucking Indian bastard?”

Bell was eventually ushered out of the premises, but while on the doorstep launched his assault on one of the staff members.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said it was “hard to put a positive spin” on Bell’s “atrocious” behaviour.

He said divorced Bell had never been in this kind of trouble before, and did not know if he would be able to hold on to his job.

“By his own words he was intoxicated and he has a very sparse recollection of what took place,” Mr Allan said.

“I asked him what he’d like to say about this and he said he was heartfully sorry, and would like to apologise to everybody.”

The agent said Bell needed to control his drinking. “He may need to consider his attitudes to other people as well.”

Mr Allan said the offence was not premeditated, in the sense that Bell, who had been a regular at the restaurant, had not intended to go there to insult people.

He said Bell had accepted his guilt at the earliest opportunity, and had spent a night in the cells.

“He was taken to custody yesterday from his work,” he said.

Sheriff Philip Mann told Bell: “This behaviour is rightly described by your agent as atrocious, and it can’t be condoned in any way.”

“Those of different races … are entitled to be in this country and are entitled to go about their business without being abused.”

Fining him, he said he hoped Bell would reflect carefully on his future behaviour.


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