A charity shop volunteer has apologised to a hospital worker after he hurled racist abuse while waiting to be treated for a head injury.
John Paterson made the racist comments to a member of staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after he was taken there following a tumble outside a pub.
The retired 63-year-old later implied to police that he was justified in using the n-word because it “was created by Africans”.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court, however, was told that he’s since changed his stance on the word and sent a profuse apology letter to the worker expressing his “embarrassment and shame”.
Fiscal depute Lewis Devoy said Paterson was taken to ARI’s accident and emergency after he fell and hit his head on concrete outside a Peterculter pub just after midnight on September 19 last year.
Victim abused while working nights
While waiting to be treated he wound up pointing and acting aggressively toward a man who was employed at the emergency department to remind people of the Covid-19 measures in place at the time.
At around 2am Paterson called him the n-word while shouting and making “aggressive gestures”.
“Due to his demeanour and behaviour police reattended at little later,” the fiscal added.
“He then discharged himself against medical advice and was taken home by the police.”
After being cautioned and charged he told officers: “I was under stress … and actually the n-word was created by Africans and I don’t need to be abused by him when I come into hospital.”
Fear racism was ingrained
It was that attempt at excusing his racist slur that Sheriff Morag McLaughlin found most alarming as she suggested it showed the behaviour was “ingrained”.
Paterson, who was not present in court, was represented by solicitor John Hardie who entered a guilty plea on his behalf.
Mr Hardie told the court his client had “no memory” of the events and has felt a “huge sense of shame and embarrassment since”.
“He has written a letter of apology for the attention of the victim of this offence. That suggests he does understand the nature and seriousness of his offending here.”
However, the sheriff interjected: “His exchange with the police doesn’t appear to back that up.”
‘Huge sense of shame’
The solicitor added that Paterson had suffered recent bereavements and that his remaining family live in Norway, where he spent 25 years working as an international affairs officer for an oil and gas firm.
“He simply was not himself on this occasion through the head injury and his depression medication,” Mr Hardie added.
He noted that Paterson had been volunteering at a Banchory charity shop since his retirement five years ago.
“What I can say is this incident is deeply regrettable and entirely out of character,” he added. “His regret is deep and genuine.”
Sheriff McLaughlin told him it was an “appalling” incident and added: “The comment to police brings a concern it is more ingrained”.
‘You don’t utter those remarks’
“You don’t utter those words whether you are drunk, concussed or otherwise. There is no place for remarks like that in society.”
She was persuaded to deal with the matter without Paterson, of Peterculter Retirement Park, being ordered to attend court.
She fined him £640.
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