Published: 03/08/2012 15:32 - Updated: 06/08/2012 12:03

Tesco pumps rage row lands Inverness man in court on race hate charge

Court stock picA PETROL pump rage row at a local filling station landed an Inverness man in court charged with racially abusing a taxi driver.

Thirty-one year-old Rahil Gafoor claimed Barry Hirst queue-jumped at the pumps at the Tesco Filling Station at Inshes and called him a ‘Paki b......

Hirst (39) of Moray Park Wynd, Culloden, denies on October 23 last year behaving in a threatening or abusive manner likely to cause fear and alarm towards Mr Gafoor, shouting and swearing and that he used racially abusive language.

Mr Gafoor in his evidence said Hirst shouted the abuse when he was challenged about queue jumping.

Mr Gafoor, who works as a taxi driver locally, told Sheriff Ian Abercrombie he arrived at the filling station with his wife at about 2pm and was queuing behind two cars which were already at the pumps.

When the car at the second pump left he told the trial Hirst moved in ahead of him.

Mr Gafoor said he got out of the car and told Hirst: "You broke the queue mate."

He claimed Hirst started shouting at him.

Questioned by depute fiscal Laura Ryan about what Hirst had said, Mr Gafoor told the court he made a racist remark which he didn’t want to repeat in court.

Pressed further by the fiscal he said Hirst shouted at him :"You f..... Paki b....."

Mr Gafoor said after that I went back into the car and pretended to be on the phone to the police.

He said he did later make a call to the police about the incident.

John McColl, solicitor for Hirst, asked Mr Gafoor if he might have been mistaken and Mr Hirst had actually said: "Pack it in. Can’t you leave me be. Get on with getting your petrol."

But Mr Gafoor said he was not mistaken.

Tesco assistant Nicola Pearson (37) who was in the forecourt at the time of the incident said she he heard the taxi driver ask Hirst why he felt the need to overtake and go into the pump ahead of him.

She said Hirst started shouting and a lady in the forecourt complained to her. "I went to ask both of them to calm down," but she said Hirst was shouting abusively at Mr Gafoor.

She said she heard Hirst called Mr Gafoor a ‘Paki b......’

"I stepped in and asked him to calm down. I was in a bit of shock."

She said she was ‘disgusted’ when she heard the remark.

Asked by Mr McColl if she was sure these were the words she heard Mrs Pearson said she was.

Police Constable Donald Macleod told the court Hirst was cautioned and charged and replied: "I remember raising my voice at the male but in no circumstances did I refer to him as black. I replied to him for shouting at me."

The trial will continue on September 3.

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