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Drunk man's racist slurs

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 24, 2012

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A MAN attacked and racially insulted another man at Barnstaple Bus Station, a court heard.

Michael Mahendran, 22, of Forches Avenue, Barnstaple became involved in an altercation with Jonathon Durn on February 24.

Sanchia Pereira, for the prosecution, told magistrates Mahendran had been walking home after drinking with friends when he approached Mr Durn and a group of his friends.

Mahendran told Mr Durn to "get out of the way before I lay one on you", before calling him a racially offensive name.

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Mahendran then grabbed Mr Durn and attempted to head-butt him, before throwing a punch.

Although the head-butt missed, the punch glanced off Mr Durn's temple.

Mahendran then left the scene but was arrested by a policeman who had seen the assault happen.

Mahendran pleaded guilty to committing a racially aggravated common assault.

Tony Dart, for the defence, said his client accepted that his behaviour was reprehensible.

He said Mahendran found it hard to accept he had used a racially offensive term, since he had previously been on the receiving end of such slurs, due to his swarthy appearance.

Mr Dart said Mahendran had been drunk at the time of the incident and CCTV footage showed him "swaying in almost comic fashion" as he walked down the road.

Mahendran's drunken state had caused Mr Durn and his friends to laugh and he had reacted to this.

Mr Dart also asked the court to recognise that although Mahendran had a number of previous convictions, dating back to when he was just 12-years-old, he had just one, a conditional discharge, in the last six years.

He also said Mahendran wanted to apologise to Mr Durn and that he was genuinely trying to turn a corner in his life.

Magistrate Susan Poxon adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report.

She indicated that Mahendran was likely to be sentenced to unpaid work.

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