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Inverness chip shop worker smacked teenagers' bottoms, court is told

By Ali Morrison

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The offence took place at Mr Chips in 2016.
The offence took place at Mr Chips in 2016.

A sheriff told a former Inverness chip shop employee who slapped two teenage staff on their bottoms he was not in a Benny Hill sketch.

Gerard Berberabe (46) of May Court, Inverness, slapped a boy and a girl, both aged 14, on their backsides over their clothing when employed at Mr Chips in the city’s Telford Street between August and September of 2016.

He admitted committing a breach of the peace and was fined £600 when he appeared at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Gary Aitken told him his actions had been “catastrophically ill-advised” and added: “It is not the 1970s. This is not a Benny Hill sketch.

“It is not funny and simply should not have happened at any time.”

Solicitor Marc Dickson said the matter rightly took a considerable time to investigate by the Crown and what Berberabe had pleaded guilty to contained nothing of a sexual nature.

He told the court that there had been an informal atmosphere in the workplace.

“The accused seems to have been working in an environment where there was an element of joking and horseplay and with the benefit of hindsight he should not have involved himself in that,” he said.

However Mr Dickson added: “He maintains there was absolutely no sexual intent.”

Fiscal Depute Martina Eastwood said the Crown was “neutral” on whether there had been a sexual element to the offence.

Sheriff Aitken said he had to accept that there was not, but added: “I trust this experience has given him the chance to reflect on how he interacts with others.”

The court heard Berberabe no longer works at the chip shop.

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