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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Man not guilty of racial abuse

A MAN accused of racially abusing a 13-year-old girl in Barrow town centre has been found not guilty.

James Jacques, 38, of Egerton Court, Barrow, had denied a charge of using abusive and insulting words likely to cause harassment and distress to the girl, and that the words were racist.

It was alleged that Jacques said racist remarks to the 13-year-old and later made another racist remark to his son outside Barrow Town Hall at around 5pm on September 13.

Mr Lee Dacre, prosecuting, told Furness Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday that the girl and her father had been staying with Keryl Jacques.

Mrs Jacques and the girl went into Barrow town centre to pick up her two sons, aged six and three, who had been staying with their father, Jacques, on their usual access visit.

Mr Dacre said there had been a dispute about the location of a pair of glasses.

He said: “The girl intervened to say where she had seen them and that was where the first racist comment was made.”

The youngster was upset by what he said and the parties separated but as she, Mrs Jacques and her two sons were getting on a bus, Jacques started shouting abuse at Mrs Jacques and made the second racist comment to his son.

Mrs Jacques, the girl and the two boys went to Wilkinson’s and then to the bus stop, where Jacques started shouting abuse at Mrs Jacques.

As they were getting on to the bus, Miss Kath McAteer, defending, said the girl had been called something else by Jacques.

Miss McAteer said: “Are you telling the truth?” and the youngster said: “Yes.”

Mrs Jacques, 24, told Mr Dacre she had been in town with the 13-year-old and had gone to the town hall to pick up her two sons from Jacques’ eldest son, Daniel, at around 5pm.

Jacques appeared when they were getting on the bus, she said, and added: “He started giving me verbal abuse and spoke very loudly to Daniel.” Under cross examination, Mrs Jacques said Jacques had been told the results of a DNA test the day before that confirmed he was not the father of another of Mrs Jacques’ children.

She said: “James has always known the possibility that he wasn’t his.”

Jason Goodrum, 22, the bus driver, told the court that he saw Jacques talking to Mrs Jacques when he pulled up and heard him make loud comments about her but didn’t hear any racist words.

Mr Goodrum knew Mrs Jacques because his uncle used to live with her and as she got on gave her his grandmother’s telephone number.

Jacques said he had been upset about the DNA test result and said: “I don’t deny calling Keryl various names.

“I was rather upset on the day in respect of the DNA test.

“When I dropped the kids off the discussion happened about the glasses and I managed to keep my upset down and never said anything untoward.”

He went into town with his eldest son and returned to the bus stop to see Mrs Jacques “exchanging numbers” with the bus driver.

Jacques said: “The bus driver knew Keryl through his uncle. His uncle moved in with Keryl until he was arrested and I got a court order preventing him going anywhere near my children.”

Jacques said he “snapped” at seeing Mrs Jacques talking to the bus driver but added: “I’ve nothing against coloured people. I’m anti-racist.

“This is the sixth time now that I’ve been before the court in the last six months.

“I’m on the sick with depression and agrophobia because I daren’t go out and see her around town.

“The only reason I can think that she is saying it is that it’s another attempt by Keryl to stop me seeing my children, which is what she’s been doing for the last 12 months.”

Jacques’ eldest son, Daniel Jacques, 18, told the court that he didn’t hear his father make any racist comments.

Miss McAteer told the court: “Keryl has got a new fella and every time she gets a new man there seems to be accusations and allegations against James Jacques so that contact between himself and the children is refused.”

Miss McAteer said the girl and her father were staying with Mrs Jacques and said: “There’s a big motivation for her staying on the right side of Keryl.”

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