Man sentenced for abusing gay Crouch End councillor
PUBLISHED: 11:35 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 September 2010
A MAN who hurled homophobic abuse at a Crouch End councillor has been sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid community work. Robert Grier, who lives in Warltersville Road, Hornsey pleaded guilty earlier this month to a homophobically aggravated public order offe
A MAN who hurled homophobic abuse at a Crouch End councillor has been sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid community work.
Robert Grier, who lives in Warltersville Road, Hornsey pleaded guilty earlier this month to a homophobically aggravated public order offence against Liberal Democrat councillor Ron Aitken on April 11.
Before the sentencing at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court last week (June 25), the court heard how Cllr Aitken was in the White Lion of Mortimer Pub in Stroud Green Road when he asked a group of drunken men at the next table to quieten down their conversation about a football match.
When the group did not respond Cllr Aitken told Grier, 38, to "shut the f*** up", at which point members of the group called the councillor a paedophile and Grier approached him and threatened him. The councillor took a picture of Grier on his mobile phone, which made him extremely angry.
When the councillor left the pub he was chased by Grier, who shouted a torrent of homophobic insults at him as he chased him along Stroud Green Road toward Crouch Hill for about 100 metres.
Cllr Aitken sought refuge in Woody's Express until his pursuer agreed to leave on the basis he deleted the photograph he had taken earlier. Grier was arrested in the White Lion of Mortimer pub later in the day when investigating officers visited to collect CCTV footage.
Sentencing Grier, District Deputy Judge Nina Tempia said: "I find this matter serious enough for a community penalty. The work requirement would have been more than 80 hours but I have taken into account your guilty plea."
Grier's counsel Judy Snowball painted a picture of her client as a victim, saying he had lost his job and his reputation in the area because of the incident.
Cllr Aitken, 47, was the first openly gay councillor to be elected to Haringey Council in 1988. Speaking after the sentencing, he said: "I'm pleased the police and the CPS have taken this case to trial and got a conviction. I think it's good he's going to do some community service.
"It's important incidents like this are reported and I hope that seeing this case go through the criminal justice process will encourage others who might not have come forward to do so in the future."
Grier was also ordered to pay costs of £70.