Thursday, September 21, 2006

A British driver spent two nights in jail after being accused of revving his car in a racist manner

Russell Findlay:

Mechanic Ronnie Hutton, 49, yesterday described his court ordeal which finally ended when prosecutors dropped the allegation of racism.

But he was still convicted of a breach of the peace for revving the engine of his £25,000 Lotus.

Witnesses claimed he had been trying to intimidate a Libyan couple on the pavement. Ronnie, of Stirling, claims he was only revving the powerful V8 engine to avoid another £15,000 repair bill.

But off-duty Chief Inspector Eoin Jenkins thought he was targeting Muslim Isam Maigel and his wife Hana Saad.

And when Jenkins, now retired, confronted Ronnie he was told to "f*** off".

On Thursday, at Stirling Sheriff court, the Crown ditched the racist part of the charge but Sheriff Andrew Cubie convicted Ronnie of breach of the peace and fined him £150.

Last night, he said: "To be convicted for revving my car in a busy street is hard to take. Does this mean anyone driving a noisy car in Scotland is now a criminal?"

Following the row last September, police officers arrived at Ronnie's home and asked him to come with them to talk about the incident. He ended up being kept in a cell for two nights before being taken to court where he was released without charge.

He complained to the fiscal and the new charges surfaced months later. He said: "The police kept me in custody over the weekend because I made the mistake of swearing at a senior officer."

Race abuse conviction 'landmark'


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