A 52-year-old man who racially abused a traffic warden telling him to ‘go back to Africa’ was ordered to pay his victim £500 compensation last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court.
Robert Nelson Moorhead, Weavers Meadow, Banbridge, admitted disorderly behaviour at Victoria Street on November 14.
He was bound over in the sum of £750 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years and ordered to pay the compensation.
The court heard that police received a complaint from a traffic warden that at 2.48pm he had been issuing a parking ticket when he had been racially abused.
The defendant who was driving a bus said: “F****** go back to Africa and give them a ticket there.”
Two members of the public who saw what happened gave witness statements.
When interviewed Moorhead accepted having words about taxi drivers in the town but strongly refuted being racially abusive.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said that what the defendant said was ‘openly and graphically racist’.
A solicitor representing Moorhead said he had no excuses for his behaviour.
He pointed out that the defendant had an impeccable record and references, which were handed in to the court, showed he was held in high esteem.
The solicitor explained that Moorhead at the time had been looking after his terminally ill father, who had since died, and with the stress he was under he boiled over.
He handed in a letter, written by the defendant, which he wanted to be passed on to the injured party.
Judge Copeland said this was ‘outrageous conduct’ from a man who before had an exemplary character.
“You totally lost the run of yourself on this occasion,” he told the defendant.
The judge added that given the high esteem Moorhead was held in the community not only by his employer but by other significant community figures this was totally out of character.
“He allowed the red mist to descend into a tirade of foul and disgraceful racist abuse against a man who was only doing his job,” he commented.