Scots sheriff brands race attack teen “an arsehole”

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By Michael MacLeod and Rory Reynolds

A SHERIFF branded a racist thug as “an arsehole” after he punched an Iranian student in the face.

Victim Yasin Hajizdeh, 23, was travelling on an Edinburgh bus when he heard passengers behind him calling him a “Paki”.

On turning around he was thumped in the face by Murdo Manson, 16, and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Afterwards, Manson admitted to police he had been “acting like an arsehole on the bus”.

And yesterday Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill QC fined him £200, slamming the assault as “despicable”.

She told him: “When you say you were acting like an arsehole, all I can do is agree with that.”

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Manson, a part-time cleaner earning £40 per week, had been drinking at the back of a number 34 bus on the city’s Calder Road with pals on 9 May.

Mr Hajizdeh had boarded the bus with a tennis racket but quickly spotted someone had moved it to another seat without him noticing.

Fiscal Depute Trevor Smith said: “Mr Hajizdeh went downstairs but the group following him and were heard to make several comments including ‘f**k off Paki’.

“Mr Hajizdeh turned around and Manson punched him in the face.”

The victim, who was said to be a PhD student, was treated in hospital for soft tissue injuries.

Police tracked down Manson and interviewed him over the attack, before charging him with racially aggravated assault.

Prosecutor Mr Smith added: “When spoken to by police he admitted he had been, and I quote, ‘acting like an arsehole on the bus’.”

Yesterday Manson, a first offender, pled guilty to the charge before a trial.

His defence agent, Angus McLennan said: “He had been drinking alcohol.

“The tennis racket had been moved and that agitated Mr Hajizdeh.

Lashed

“He turned around and confronted the group by looking at them to see who made the Paki remark, and Mr Manson lashed out.”

Sheriff MacNeill told Manson, “It is a despicable incident for two reasons, firstly saying what you said and doing what you did.

“Secondly, behaviour like this on a public bus, where everybody is contained, is frightening for everybody.”

Last night Murdo Manson spoke of his disbelief at the Sheriff’s blast.

The cleaner claimed she was “well out of order” for publicly insulting him.

The 16-year-old said: “It was only a £200 fine I’m not a criminal. I’ve never heard anything like that before.

“It’s the third or fourth time I’ve appeared in court for that same case but it had all been formal with procedures and stuff until then.

“Arsehole”

“I don’t know if my lawyer heard.

“I didn’t hear it at first until my girlfriend told me.

“It’s well out of order.”

His mum Tricia, said she was horrified that a sheriff had labelled her son an “arsehole”.

The 46 yr old said: “It was definitely wrong what he did.

“Unfortunately he had had a few drinks but I can’t believe someone in that position would say that.

“It’s just unbelievable that she would call my son that.

“He’s a good laddie. He did do something daft but he only got a fine.

“She’s out of order.”

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