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UK: Man escapes jail over racial slur on Nigerian

Posted by This Day Online on 2007/02/23 | Views: 892 |

UK: Man escapes jail over racial slur on Nigerian


David Lunt, aged 22, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to racially-aggravated common assault on the Nigerian-born driver.

David Lunt, aged 22, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to racially-aggravated common assault on the Nigerian-born driver.

The court heard how Lunt, of Mount View Avenue, Norton Lees, Sheffield, caught the bus on London Road at about 5.40am on August 10 last year after he had been drinking in a late bar. Prosecutor James Baird said the driver noticed straight away that Lunt's behaviour was "odd" as he would not tell him what type of ticket he wanted or where he wanted to go.

Eventually he paid his fare but, as the bus set off, Lunt stood close to the driver and made racially abusive comments to him. The driver stopped the bus on Abbeydale Road and Lunt continued to be abusive, demanding the bus carry on its journey.

"The driver felt frightened for his safety and that of other passengers," said Mr Baird.

"He asked Lunt to leave, then attempted to remove him from the bus."

The two men began to struggle, with the driver suffering punches to his head and kicks to his right leg. He had no visible injuries but later suffered pain to his head, leg and shoulder and was left shocked by the attack.

A passing motorist later told police that Lunt had appeared drunk and was being aggressive towards the driver, who had been trying to calm him down.

After being interviewed by police, Lunt wrote a letter to the investigating officer to express his shame.

He wrote: "I'm not a racist and have many friends of different cultures. I believe my drink was spiked in a late bar."

Lunt claimed he could not remember the incident and asked for his apologies to be passed on to his victim. Defence barrister Allison Dorrell said the "inexcusable" attack was out of character for Lunt, who had no previous convictions.

He was a student on a college course which would lead him on to study for a degree. If jailed, he would lose his place on the course, said Ms Dorrell.

She also handed over references which spoke highly of him. Judge Trevor Barber gave Lunt a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to complete 160 hours of unpaid work through a Community Order. He also imposed a 7pm to 7am curfew for two months.

He told Lunt: "To behave like that to a man doing his job in the early hours of the morning is unforgiveable.

"But, after what I have read and heard of you, it would be wrong to send you to prison.

"You are a bright bloke. This is your chance."


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