Monday 23 July 2018

Courts warned to be vigilant of 'poisonous racist remarks'

Cormac Murphy

COURTS must be vigilant about addressing racist remarks as they can poison the atmosphere in any ethnically mixed society, a judge said yesterday.

Judge James McDonnell made the comment in Tallaght District Court in a case in which a man - Colm Kilmartin (37) of The Wood, Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin - used a "grossly offensive racist slur" in front of two black people in a bar.

Mr Kilmartin, an electronic engineer, pleaded guilty in court on a previous occasion to being drunk and disorderly, failing to comply with the direction of a garda and engaging in disorderly conduct.

The court heard that gardai went to the Abberly Court Hotel in Tallaght on April 6 after getting a call about an abusive customer on the premises who was using the word "nigger".

Having read the victim/offender mediation report, Judge McDonnell said: "The courts must be reactive and vigilant in addressing manifestations [of racism] when they appear and that is why I took a serious view of this matter that was a relatively innocuous public order offence tainted by racist remarks," the judge said.

He considered ?1,000 - which the defendant brought to court for donation to a drop-in centre in Tallaght - a serious expression of his remorse and dismissed the charges under the Probation Act.

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