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A Carradale woman who told a woman of mixed race heritage to ‘go back to where she came from’ has been found guilty of racial abuse.
Jennifer Grant, 47, of 25 Tormhor, Carradale, denied acting in a racially aggravated manner which caused or was likely to cause alarm or distress on April 27 this year.
During a Campbeltown Sheriff Court trial last Wednesday and Thursday, Grant admitted telling the woman, a neighbour, to ‘go back to where she came from’ but said she did not say it in reference to the woman’s ethnicity, and actually meant the woman should return to her house.
Giving evidence, the complainer said she asked Grant what she meant by the phrase and was told ‘You know what I mean’.
The complainer also told the court: ‘I have had a lot of racial problems up there [in Carradale]. It’s 2019. I had it when I was young. I don’t expect it now. I get a lot of it and it’s getting to breaking point.’
Grant described the comment as a figure of speech and said she was gesturing towards the complainer’s house when she said it. Procurator fiscal depute Eoin McGinty asked her: ‘Are you honestly telling this court that you did not know that the phrase had any racial connotations?’
Grant maintained that she spoke in reference to the complainer’s home.
The comment was made after a delivery of wood meant for the complainer was left on ground described by the complainer as communal ground, and by Grant as on her property.
Grant allowed the delivery driver to leave it there but when she found out it belonged to the complainer, she was ‘not happy’.
She said she has trust issues since her dog was poisoned some years ago, and she mistrusts the complainer not because of her heritage but because she and her family have committed ‘crimes of dishonesty’ in the past.
Grant said there are normally CCTV cameras installed at her home but they were not operational at the time of the incident.
Mr McGinty said: ‘To say “go back to where you came from” to a black woman, knowing that she had been racially abused by a neighbour in the past, can only be seen as racist.’
Defence agent Stephen MacSporran said: ‘I do understand that this phrase, used in certain contexts, could be racist but this is not one of them. The context is clear, as in telling someone to go back to their house.’
Finding Grant guilty, Sheriff Patrick Hughes said: ‘It is agreed that the words were said. It seems to me that this is a remark which is unusual and it is a loaded remark.’
Sheriff Hughes imposed a £300 fine to be paid within 28 days.