A former taxi driver on his way to a poker game was involved in a road rage incident in Antrim town when he called another motorist a “Polish b*stard” and then said he should “go back to Romania”.
The incident was captured on dashcam and pictures played to Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday showed Mervyn McIlrath (63), of Orangefield Crescent in Belfast, at a mini-roundabout in Antrim.
The right-of-way had been queried and the defendant got out of his car and launched a foul-mouthed attack on the other man.
The injured party, who is Polish, was working as a Domino’s delivery driver when the incident happened and had dashcam which was recording pictures and sound.
The defendant was in court for sentencing on a common assault charge relating to May 20 last year.
A prosecutor said it was a “hate crime”.
Defence barrister Chris Sherrard said McIlrath has a number of acquaintances who are foreign nationals and he was was very remorseful.
“He spoke in haste, he lost his temper, and apologises. The incident arose as a result of a dispute as to who had the right of way at a roundabout. He accepts his behaviour was inappropriate”.
The defence lawyer said there was “clearly an issue with anger management in regard to road traffic issues”.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said it had been a “very poor piece of behaviour”.
He said the incident was aggravated “by virtue of hostility and I make a finding in that regard”.
The judge said there was no place in any society for such behaviour and the defendant had made reference to nationality in an “aggressive and derogatory way”.
The defendant, who had a previous record, was given a four month jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay the victim £200 compensation.