Drunken brickie shouted sectarian abuse on train

Accused Mark Johnston, Bo'ness
Accused Mark Johnston, Bo'ness

A drunken brickie upset a train full of passengers by shouting offensive sectarian comments as he travelled from Edinburgh.

Mark Johnston (24), of Kinneil Drive, Bo’ness, claimed he was just engaging in “football banter” with his pals on the way home from a 21st birthday celebration.

Catherine Knowles, prosecuting, said Johnston had boarded the train at Edinburgh Waverley station with four or five other people.

She told Livingston Sheriff Court that the gang, who had been drinking, split into two groups because the train was busy.

As the journey progressed members of both groups started to shout and swear loudly at each other across the carriage.

One witness heard Celtic being mentioned and told the accused and his friends to stop causing a disturbance.

But as the train reached Haymarket station Johnston offended fellow travellers and staff working on the train by making derogatory remarks about the Pope.

One of Johnston’s pals immediately apologized for the remark but passengers began asking if police had been called.

Mrs Knowles said: “A member of staff stated that the comment about the Pope changed the atmosphere on the train.”

She said Johnston, who got off at Linlithgow station, was traced through CCTV footage.

Johnston, appeared for sentence on Tuesday after earlier pleading guilty to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.

He admitted uttering sectarian remarks on the train on April 20 and that his behaviour was “aggravated by religious pre-judice”.

Johnston, who represented himself in court, apologised for upsetting other passengers and said he took full responsibility for what he’d 
said.

He added: “I didn’t mean to cause any alarm or use threatening behaviour towards them.

Sheriff Michael Wood fined Johnston £300 for the offence.