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Footballer Josh Meekings is granted absolute discharge

By Philip Murray

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Josh Meekings: Absolute discharge.
Josh Meekings: Absolute discharge.

A SHERIFF has given an Inverness Caley Thistle footballer an absolute discharge after he got caught up in a city centre disturbance in 2015.

Sheriff Gordon Fleetwood heard at the trial of Josh Meekings (right) last November that the player had been subjected to racial abuse in McDonald’s before the incident on December 20, 2015.

Meekings was convicted of causing a disturbance but cleared of making homophobic remarks.

At the time Sheriff Fleetwood deferred sentence on Meekings for six months for good behaviour and told him it would be open to the court to grant him an absolute discharge – which would mean there would be no conviction on his record if he kept out of trouble.

Yesterday defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif told Sheriff Fleetwood: “Having regard to the fact that at the time of the offence he was subjected to what the court accepted was racist abuse in that the comments made to him were vile, vicious, and he was called an English cheat, the appropriate sentence would be to grant him an absolute discharge in order to leave him with no stain on his character.” Sheriff Fleetwood granted the absolute discharge when it was confirmed Meekings had not been in any further trouble.

The 25-year-old of Inshes Mews in Inverness had indicated willingness to plead guilty to behaving in a threatening or abusive manner but not to the aggravation of sexual prejudice.

A police officer at the trial said Meekings shouted ‘come on you poofy.....’ at the man he was arguing with.

But Sheriff Fleetwood said the difficulty he had with the case was the context in which the alleged sexually prejudicial remark was made, because the man involved was not a witness.

He ruled the offence was not aggravated by sexual prejudice.

Meekings’s solicitor at the trial, John MacColl, claimed his client had been subjected to racial abuse in McDonald’s by an unknown man and police later saw the player gesticulating towards him among a group of people near the Town House.

Meekings had been excused from attending the hearing.

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