Courts warned to be vigilant of 'poisonous racist remarks'
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.