Victim had bleeding on brain after race hate attack

Police saw the altercation and intervened. Picture: Julie Bull
Police saw the altercation and intervened. Picture: Julie Bull
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Two Polish men on a night out in Musselburgh found themselves the target of a racial verbal and physical attack from drunken local youths.

One of the victims spent three days in hospital suffering from a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain.

The attack occurred about 1 am on March 23 last year when Nuno Santana and Bartek Piejko were walking along Bridge Street.

They were approached by a group of young men, which included 18-year old Jamie Smith and 19-year old Ryan Lang.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month, Fiscal Depute Kirsty Anderson told Sheriff Alistair Noble that Smith shouted at the men: “You are f.....g Polish”, “Musselburgh is our town. We are locals”.

Ms Anderson said the verbal abuse went on for some time. Then, she said, Lang ran forward and punched Mr Santana on the body, knocking him to the ground causing him to hit his head on the road and losing consciousness.

The Fiscal said police officers driving along Bridge Street saw what appeared to be a fight and stopped.

“Mr Lang ran away” said the Fiscal “but he was later found hiding under the bridge”.

The officers saw Smith walking over and looking at Mr Santana who was still lying where he had fallen.

Smith then began shouting and swearing at the police, threatening them and their families with violence.

After a struggle, he was arrested. Ms Anderson said Smith then turned his abuse on Constable Firash Rafiq telling him: “F..k off to Pakistan. You terrorist bastard and 9/11 bastard”.

Smith of Old School Gate, Goose Green, Musselburgh, pled guilty to making racially abusive remarks to the two men and to the police officers, while Lang of St Clements Crescent, Wallyford, pled guilty to a racially aggravated assault on Mr Santana to his severe injury.

Sentence was deferred on the men until today for reports.

Defence lawyer, Kim Schofield, told Sheriff Noble that Smith had been heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time.

“He is very remorseful and very much regrets his actions” she said.

He was now attempting to curtail his consumption of alcohol she added.

Appearing for Lang, solicitor, Angela Craig, said he was a hard-working young man.

There was, she said, no pre-planning of the attack and her client was ashamed of his behaviour and causing injury to Mr Santana.

He had planned to go travelling, she said, and had saved £2000.

He was willing to pay compensation to his victim.

The solicitors pointed out that it was over a year since the incident, neither man had offended during that period and neither had previous convictions

Sheriff Noble ordered Smith to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work within nine months under a Community Payback Order.

He deferred sentence on Lang until April 10 to come forward with £1000 for compensation.