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Man in court for drunk outburst of racist abuse

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 13, 2014

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A 23-YEAR-OLD has told a judge he plans to change his ways after a drunken racist outburst led to his arrest.

Sam Billings, of Wood Street, Burton, appeared before the town’s magistrates and pleaded guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment following an incident in February.

Police officers arrested him after he was seen swearing loudly and shouting racial insults.

The episode was described as an ‘outburst’ rather than being directed at anybody in particular.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, told the court: “This was a racially aggravated offence which took place in the early hours of the morning in Station Street, Burton. Police went down to the offender who was clearly drunk. They said he was being loud and shouting ‘all the British public’ before directing an insult at a man in grey.”

She read out the offensive racist remarks that Billings was shouting, including one comment about ‘British being British’ and ‘just white people’.

When interviewed by police, Billings said he couldn’t remember anything.

Representing himself, Billings told the judge: “I have a drinking problem which led to me appearing before you today. I am working with a drinking programme.

“I can’t say much about what happened – I can’t remember much because I was drunk.

“I sincerely apologise for what I said. I’m not going to make excuses but I was going through a rough time.

“I know I need to stop drinking and find other ways to deal with my problems.

“I have read the report and feel ashamed of my behaviour.”

District judge David Taylor told him: “I accept your conduct is because you were drunk. People go around making unnecessary comments for no good reason when they are drunk.

“Even an outburst could start a confrontation.

“If you were directing it at someone I might take a different view.”

He fined Billings £150 for the offence and ordered him to pay a £20 victim surcharge and costs of £85.

The judge told Billings, who was already subject to a community order, that if he was charged with another racially aggravated offence it was highly likely he would be sent to prison.

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