A MAN who got into a row with a group of teens in Carlisle city centre and ended up racially abusing one of them has avoided jail.

Scott Archer, 44, of Abbey Street, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated abuse which was described as ‘deeply offensive’ and ‘unacceptable’ by residing judge, Recorder Julian Shaw.

Appearing at Carlisle Crown Court on September 29, the court heard how Archer got into a row with a group of teenagers who were watching a preacher near Primark on English Street in Carlisle at around 12.40pm on February 7, 2023.

Prosecutor Tim Evans said Archer was offended by the preacher’s remarks that people who take their own life go to hell, because someone in his family has done so.

According to the complainant, Archer threatened to spray paint the preacher, and started an ‘interchange’ with the group, saying everything the preacher said was wrong.

The teens argued he should just walk away if he was offended, and questioned what his experience with suicide had to do with what was being preached, while the argument exploded.

Mr Evans explained how the teens, admittedly foolishly, accused Archer of having paedophilic tendencies, which escalated the row even further.

Archer said he was going to spray paint the complainant’s eyes and told him to ‘shut up’ and called him a ‘black ****’.

This was followed by the complainant grabbing Archer by the neck and pushing him away before police intervened.

Tariq Khawam, defending, said that the racial element was not the predominant motivation, but rather two ‘extremely crass words’ said at the end of a ‘heated debate’.

He argued that a sentence of 40 days of rehabilitation activity would set Archer up to fail, and instead suggested that, because of mental health matters that need to be looked at properly, he be issued with a stand-alone suspended sentence. He added that the paint cans were not actually produced by the defendant during the incident.

Recorder Shaw responded by stating his job was not to sentence Archer for getting involved in an argument, but because of the racial remark, which he said was ‘deeply unpleasant and offensive’ and caused alarm and distress.

Mr Khawam said that there were roughly ten youths involved who admitted they could have ‘given as good as they got’ and were to an extent ‘goading’ Archer.

Mitchel Hill from the probation service said Archer is known to them and has ‘very complex needs’, and suggested a standalone suspended sentence would be fairer.

Concluding, the judge said to Archer: “Not for the first time, you’re back in front of the court.

“You got yourself involved in a row with young people that escalated, and you used deeply offensive, racially aggravated, terms of abuse.

“It’s just unacceptable from a 44-year-old who has been around, experienced the world, and everything that it can throw at you.

“In a long, unseemly row in the street, you threatened to produce the spray paint you had and used that disgraceful racial abuse.

“All of that said, the pre-sentence report does put your offending and personality in context.”

He imposed a sentence of six weeks in prison, suspended for 15 months, what he considered to be the lowest sentence he could impose.

“Stay out of trouble, and you won’t have a sentence to serve. You’ve been in the dock probably more times than the rest of us combined.

“Go now, and don’t come back,” the judge concluded.