Belfast man convicted of incitement to hatred towards Pakistanis
Two Pakistani men were racially taunted after crowd attacked their property
Mohammad Asif Khattak wept as he recalled the insults he said were hurled by a crowd of up to 10 people. “They were calling us Paki b*******, dirty Arabs,” he said. “Saying, ‘get out of our street, get out of our country’.”
A Belfast man has been convicted of incitement to hatred towards Pakistanis living on his street.
John Montgomery had denied racially taunting two men in the aftermath of an attack on their home in June 2014. But the 59-year-old was found guilty by a judge yesterday who heard he had also gone into their house on Parkmount Street following the earlier incident.Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard a crowd gathered on the street as media crews reported on the window being smashed.
Mohammad Asif Khattak wept in the witness stand as he recalled the insults he said were hurled by a crowd of up to 10 people. “They were calling us Paki b*******, dirty Arabs,” he said. “Saying, ‘get out of our street, get out of our country’.”
Mr Khattak claimed a man in a blue football top, alleged to have been Montgomery, was involved in the abuse. The defendant accepted going into the victim’s house, but insisted he was only trying to remove two or three other men who had entered. “I wish he was that good,” Mr Khattak responded.
Montgomery, of Parkmount Street, on the north side of Belfast, was not charged with any involvement in the earlier attack on the house or the alleged physical assault. Instead, he was accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour intending to stir up hatred or arouse fear, contrary to the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987.
He denied hearing or using any racial abuse on the day, claiming to have been among a group out having a “nosy” at the TV cameras on the street.
Montgomery told a prosecution lawyer he sometimes used the word “Chinks” for Chinese food. “I would, say, phone the Chinks for a meal, everybody uses it around the area, but there’s no reference to hatred whatsoever,” he stressed. “There is no way I used the word Paki or anything of the sort.”
After hearing all the evidence, District Judge Ken Nixon convicted him of incitement to hatred. Montgomery will return to court in July to be sentenced.