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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been accused of making a racial slur as a result of

Customer Question

I have been accused of making a racial slur as a result of my having two garments dry cleaned by a dry cleaning business. Both garments were damaged. The owners of this business happened to be Asians they refused to repair one of the garments and accused me of lying. I have photographic evidence of the damage. They told me to get out of the shop and were extremely hostile. My parting shot to them was and l quote " just because you are Asian does not mean you can get away with this and l will report you to Trading Standards" this l did. . I had to take one of these garments to be repaired by another retailer.
This was about 3 weeks ago. Today l received a phone call from the Police telling me that a complaint was made against me and that if l didn't voluntarily go the Station to be interviwed that l would be arrested ! I have agreed to go on Wednesday. I am desperate. I have never been racist and l am 70 years of age. Please help. Could l be prosecuted even though l have evidence that this was only to do with faulty service ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Yes, you could. The test is not whether you actually are racist. The test is whether you said something racist on this occasion probably in the context of a public order offence.
This will come down really to who is believed. On your account you did not say anything amounting to a racially aggravated public order offence. On theirs probably you did.
The fact that it was in the course of a legitimate sale of goods and services dispute does not mean there wasn't an offence of this nature.
Unfortunately this is a stupid piece of legislation which does encourage the reporting of nonsense.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can a prosecution folow if so what would the likely outcome be ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, they could.
They may offer a caution although for a racially aggravated offence that would not be normal.
You wouldn't get a substantial sentence. At the very high point is ia racially aggravated S5 public order which is not really a significant offence.
The issue though is that you want to avoid it entirely. It is always possible that the Bench could find you not guilty. magistrates are generally biased in favour of the Crown but they are not as bad as their reputation would suggest.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How do l avoid it entirely ?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You give evidence at court in a way that convinced the Bench that you are telling the truth.