Racism? Iranian man charged for calling traffic warden ‘English’

© Reuters
Iranian Mohammed Akhlaghi was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and fined by Hull Magistrates’ Court over a heated exchange with a parking warden, in which he called the official ‘English’.

Akhlaghi verbally and physically assaulted Robert St. Paul after being issued with a parking fine.

During the incident Akhlaghi swore at the warden and called him ‘English’ as well as pushing him in the back, in a supposed ‘racial’ attack.

Akhlaghi pleaded guilty to the charges, but blamed his actions on his limited English, which made it difficult for him to fully understand the proceedings.

Since moving to the UK in 2009, Akhlaghi said he had fallen victim to racial abuse himself, but told the court his attack was not racially aggravated.

“He is 35, he came from Iran in 2009 and has no record whatsoever. He did express remorse in interview, unfortunately, he has been the recipient of racial abuse himself,” his duty solicitor John Seagrave said.

District Judge Frederick Rutherford rejected appeals to re-open the case.

“You did attend on the last occasion before this court and you pleaded guilty. You were not represented, but we did go through the matter in some detail,” Rutherford said.

“I know you take exception to what was said, but what I have accepted is that what you did was limited, but nonetheless racial.

“You have been subjected to racial abuse and you know how upsetting it is.

“You have reacted terribly to this particular man. It must not happen again,” said the judge.

Akhlaghi will now serve his 100 hours of community service, pay £85 (US$122) in costs and a £60 victim surcharge, but Seagrove thinks the case has put Akhlaghi back on track.

“Being involved in this case has assisted him as he has been put on the right track, he hopes to start work at his cousin’s takeaway soon.”