A woman who racially abused a shop assistant avoided prison when she came before Londonderry Magistrates’ Court, because she was the victim of domestic violence in the past.
In the dock was Natalie McLaughlin (29), of Drumard Park in the Cityside, was ordered to write a letter of apology to the shop assistant.
She pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour on June 23, last year.
The District Judge, Barney McElholm, was told the 29-year-old racially abused a shop assistant working in a shop on Foyle Street. However, no further details about the incident were divulged in open court.
Considering the evidence before him, District Judge McElholm decided to impose a six month probation order with a condition that McLaughlin engage in what he called prejudice reduction work.
He also ordered McLaughlin to make a formal apology to the shop assistant.
The judge said the injured party had indicated he would like such an apology and told the defendant this can be done either face to face or in a letter.
He told the defendant this could be done once the probation order was completed, so McLaughlin could show the shop assistant what she had learned so she did not engage in this type of behaviour towards another human being again.
Judge McElholm said: “One of the reasons I am not sending you to prison is you have been subject to domestic violence in the past and I take that very much into account.”
However, he warned McLaughlin: “We can’t have this type of behaviour. Racism is not welcome in this city.”