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Landlord fined over row with English tourists outside Y-Not bar in Thurso

By Court Reporter

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DISAPPOINTED English visitors left a pub in Thurso, claiming it didn't live up to the traditional Scottish welcome advertised by the Scottish Tourist Board.

They fell out with Steven Donn of the Y-not Bar and Grill and it led to a ding-dong public row, outside, with both parties facing each other across the street and mine host ordering the tourist trio to “go back to where you came from”.

Donn (51) was fined £200 at Wick Sheriff Court last week after he admitted threatening or abusive behaviour in what Sheriff Andrew Berry described as “an unusual case”.

The court heard two versions of the incident, which took place on August 22, from fiscal David Barclay.

One from Donn, of Geise House, Geise Farm, Halkirk. He maintained that the visitors had not complied with social distancing in the premises. The other version was that they were spoken to in “an inappropriate manner” by Donn.

Mr Barclay said whatever the rights and wrongs of how the incident had started both, parties ended up in the street where there was a series of exchanges. The row was filmed by one of the tourists and uploaded onto Facebook.

Sheriff Andrew Berry gave credit to Donn for his actions during the pandemic to keep customers safe.
Sheriff Andrew Berry gave credit to Donn for his actions during the pandemic to keep customers safe.

Mr Barclay said the video, which he viewed, recorded Donn ordering the visitors at one point to “Go back home, English c***s,” which led to an element of racial aggravation being included in the charge.

The fiscal, however, made the point that the video didn’t cover what was said inside the Y-not, but he described the comment as “an unfortunate snapshot” in the overall proceedings.

Solicitor Fiona MacDonald said that Donn tendered his apologies for his behaviour but she stressed that the accused and his partner had gone to considerable expense to maintain standards and keep their premises as secure as possible in the current pandemic.

Miss MacDonald said: “Mr Donn didn’t want the trio to re-enter the premises. They were being verbally abusive to him."

Sheriff Berry gave Donn credit for his efforts during the pandemic, behaving properly towards his customers and doing his utmost to keep them safe in his premises.

The sheriff continued: “On this particular day, for a relatively short period, he had a meltdown and has accepted his guilt. One thing that can be said, is that he behaved in a manner that was not his usual way, towards customers who are otherwise welcome in his premises.”

The sheriff added that it was “an usual case” and he would impose a modest fine so that justice in the public interest could be served.

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