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Head-butted "racist and homophobic" man at taxi rank


Sunday 23 August 2020

Head-butted "racist and homophobic" man at taxi rank

A 21-year-old will have to complete a lengthy community service order after he head-butted another man who was directing "racist and homophobic abuse" at him and his friend at the Weighbridge Taxi Rank.

Jack Symphorien, 21, has been ordered to work 100 hours of community service, as a direct alternative to eight weeks in prison, for his "out of character" reaction to the alleged comments.

Symphorien and a friend were in the queue at the Weighbridge Taxi Rank at around 01.20 on Sunday 28 June at the time of the incident.

The friend was showing Symphorien an image of his girlfriend on his phone when a man standing behind them looked over and started making racist comments about her, before making racist and homophobic comments towards Symphorien and his friend.

The man persisted, reportedly using the terms "Paki" and "faggot" towards Symphorien and his friend. Symphorien, who was becoming increasingly "irate", snapped, and head-butted him. 

He later said the man "deserved to be head-butted" and said it "wasn't an option" for him to walk away, although he did regret his actions. He said the man was very close to them and was shouting aggressively in their faces. 

There were two police officers in the area, but CCTV showed they were facing the other direction at the time.


Pictured: Symphorien said he would testify against the man he head-butted when that man comes to court. 

Defence Advocate Paul Lockwood said Symphorien had been provoked by a man who "obviously wanted a fight". The other man is yet to appear in court for his role in the altercation.

"It was a major over-reaction," said Advocate Lockwood of his client's response. "Head-butts can cause horrible injuries and that is why the court has zero tolerance with them."

However, Advocate Lockwood said Symphorien deserved a second chance and deserved to be believed because of his previous good character and the reputation he had as a "hard-working, pro-social" member of the community.

In sentencing, Judge McKerrell said the other man had not yet had the chance to defend himself and the allegations against him. "Clearly if the other person did say those comments it would be deplorable and despicable," he added.


Pictured: Symphorien's community service order is a direct alternative to eight weeks in prison.

Even if those alleged comments are proven, Judge McKerrell said that would not excuse Symphorien's actions.

"You cannot in any case attempt to justify what you did. It was a deliberate act and the correct thing would have been to call the police and get them to deal with the problem."

He said Symphorien had instead taken the law into his own hands and had crossed the custody threshold by head-butting the other man.

That being said, he acknowledged the offence appeared to be "out of character" and chose instead to give Symphorien a lengthy community service order. 

If he were to breach that order, he would be sent to prison for eight weeks. 

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