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Blind ex-soldier fined for racism
4:00pm Saturday 17th August 2013 in News
A blind former soldier has been fined after racially abusing a black man who tried to help him cross a road in Melksham.
Michael Roy Ion, 43, of Saffron Meadow, Calne, admitted using a Jamaican patois slur to insult Uriel Rodney Miller, after he tried to help him across Melksham High Street on May 7.
He pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive language at North West Wiltshire Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
The court heard how Ion, who has 90 per cent sight loss caused by a genetic condition and walks with a white stick, became separated from his wife on the crossing and attempted to hold up the traffic, when Mr Miller stepped into the road to help him.
Prosecuting solicitor Andy Pritchard told the court how Ion responded by “putting on a Jamaican accent” and “raised his white stick and brought it down on Mr Miller”.
Ion’s defence solicitor Cathy Thornton said he admitted using the racial term, which roughly translates as “Why you walk like a dog, sir?”
The court heard how Ion had served in the military before losing his sight, and had spent time living on the streets in London, where he regularly received abuse, and often used the offensive slur as a means of defence.
Addressing Ion, Magistrate Bev Wildeboer said: “This was a very unpleasant situation; somebody had gone to help you as they perceived you were in trouble.
“There are people out there who want to help people, but I am sure Mr Miller will now think twice if he comes across another vulnerable person.”
His initial charge of racially aggravated common assault was dropped, and Ion was ordered to pay a total of £415 in compensation, costs and victim surcharge, and was given a 12 week curfew, preventing him from leaving his home between 6pm and 6am.