Northern Ireland

Teenager given probation for racist slogan

Bonfire with Irish tricolour flags Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The charges related to a bonfire in the Ballycraigy area of Antrim in July 2014

A County Antrim man convicted of inciting racial hatred was given an 18 month probation order on Tuesday.

Colin White, 19, was convicted of displaying written material which was likely to incite hatred or cause fear in December.

White placed the offensive material on the eleventh night bonfire in the Ballycraig estate in 2014.

The judge said: "Not withstanding the serious nature of the charges, you were lead and influenced by others.

"Their hateful agenda, perhaps by your personal difficulties, you didn't understand the implication of it."

White did not deny being present at the bonfire, but denied writing the message.

The judge said that White was guilty of "pernicious conduct" in a society where there are almost weekly race-related attacks.

He said White's action was capable of stirring up "this type of behaviour."

Legal counsel for White said the father-of-one admitted his guilt, and described the incident as "unsavoury".

"He will do anything that makes him think he will fit into his peer group," his legal counsel said.

White's lawyer revealed that he had lost his job at the airport as a consequence of the incident.

The judge told White that if he co-operated with the probation, he could "get back on track and get away from this hateful behaviour, which is causing so much distress in this community."

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