A young man who shouted racist abuse at a teenage girl as she waited at a bus stop has been ordered to pay her £500 compensation.
Mike Laurenson, 18, of Bigton, was warned he could have been jailed for the offence, which he admitted to at Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Tuesday).
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court Laurenson had left a bar in Esplanade, Lerwick, at around 5.30pm on 5th June, when he saw the girl waiting at a bus stop with her friend and shouted the racial slur.
Mr Mackenzie said the girl, who identifies as being of mixed race, was “extremely upset”.
“She had never experienced this sort of behaviour before and realistically hoped never to experience such behaviour,” he said.
Mr Mackenzie said two of Laurenson’s friends who left the bar with him, immediately distanced themselves from him and apologised to the girl for his behaviour.
The court heard the she knew Laurenson, as she had been in the year below him at secondary school. However, they were not friends, nor was there any prior ill-feeling between the two.
Mr Mackenzie described it as a “pure form” of racism with no other motivating factors other than the colour of the girl’s skin.
After reflecting on what happened, she reported the crime to police who then charged Laurenson.
Mr Mackenzie said Laurenson told the police it was a mistake he immediately regretted and would take back if he could.
Defence agent Tommy Allan said Laurenson made the comment in the “spur of the moment” thinking it might amuse his friends.
“Nothing can justify what happened,” he said.
“He feels terrible about what happened, he feels embarrassed, he feels shame, and acknowledges the victim feels terrible as well.”
Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood, appearing remotely via videolink, warned Laurenson he could have been sent to prison for the offence.
However, taking into account Laurenson’s “age and stupidity”, Sheriff Fleetwood instead ordered him to pay £500 compensation to the complainant.