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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 9977
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Please not I am in Scotland so need Scottish legal advice.

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Please not I am in Scotland so need Scottish legal advice.

I had a near miss in a local car park (small council owned to service a nearby park) and felt sufficiently annoyed with the other driver to get out and approach his car. I knocked on his driver window and he got out of the car and looked pretty mad (in the sense of angry and crazy) and was hard to understand due to a thick accent (I caught the words "bloody" and "bitch" though). He was also quite old and not the "boy racer" both his driving and car style had suggested to me. In a flash I began to retreat and said "sorry I didn't realise you we foreign".

I'm genuinely not sure why I said that, it was just the first thing in my head because he so clearly was foreign.

He got really angry then and started saying that he had been in the country longer than I had and was here before I was born. I tried to get to the point which was that he had driven recklessly and nearly caused an accident and if it hadn't been for my reverse sensors I would have hit him. He continued to be insulting including saying that I was typical of 4x4 drivers, whatever that means.

His wife had by this time also got out of the car and I asked him to stop swearing as my kids were in the car. He said he was going to phone the police because I was a racist.

I am not aware that describing someone as "foreign" is a crime. Needles to say I wish I had not got out of my car and clearly would not wish to argue with an old couple. However his driving was dangerous and I was in the right.

I am actually married to a foreigner (from Trinidad) and have never considered myself racist. However given how crazy some of our laws seem these days, does this man have a point? I would genuinely hate to think that I had said something illegal not to mention the possibly consequences for me if he does go to the police. There were no witnesses and apart from very young children I was alone at the time. Please help, I'm such a law abiding person and this has me very upset.
Thank you for your question.

You have not said anything racist. If anything he is the one who has caused a breach of the peace by placing you in a state of fear and alarm and swearing at or at let about you.

He will not report this to the police so put it behind you.

I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX he may well not take it further but he did look really like one of those types who might have nothing better to do and a wife egging him on.....Anyway, if you are quite sure that I have no case to answer then I shall feel confident if the police do get in touch. What should I tell them? Just the truth as I have told you now? With thanks....sorry to chase but are you absolutely sure that on the basis of what I have described I have broken no laws? With thanks
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Very brief answer, said the person concerned wont go to the police (he can't know this) and what I really want is a definitive answer that I did not break the law, please.
You tell them the truth and that you were frightened and intimated by who you thought was a bad driver who nearly caused an accident to you and your children. You were going to give him the benefit of the doubt because he was foreign and may not have been a confident driver.

There is no case to answer as you did not break the law. What law are you afraid you may have broken. You can actually call someone a foreigner without being a racist.

Sorry my broadband connection is intermittent this evening but I am here!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. Not sure of the specific law, its just that there is so much in the press these days about people losing jobs etc after ill advised comments I just don't feel confident speaking out against anyone. Not that I want to go around being insulting!

To be scrupulously honest I didn't feel afraid of him at all, he was a typical older chap from around here (middle class area) so I was more surprised than afraid. I was actually just cross and a bit "thrown" by such bad driving and his being so vehement that it was my fault.

As his wife was with him and I was alone, would the police take her word as a witness?

Yes, they could interview his wife as a witness but if she tells the truth there is nothing to suggest that you committed an offence.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But what if she doesn't tell the truth? This has obviously become a someone esoteric question as I have no reason to believe she will do anything other than that. However, it would be interesting to know as that would seem so unfair, people could literally ask their spouses to say anything to back up their story.
You are straying into hypothesis but yes, if they decide to lie there are two of them and one of you. In the same way that two policemen can make up stories and get someone convicted, as they often do with those unable to stand up for themselves. There's no remedy for that except a good defence lawyer skilled in cross examination.

That's why we defend people others sometimes write off as being guilty....

Please leave positive feedback so that I am credited for my time.
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