A RACIST who targeted a Scottish Government minister with a hate-filled message on social media has been fined £500.
Johnathan McAuley, 20, sent a ‘racist and offensive’ message to SNP MSP Humza Yousaf on Twitter calling him a ‘P***’ in March this year.
It came after Mr Yousaf published a message on the social media site on March 12 describing the BBC coverage of Jeremy Clarkson as “navel gazing”.
A reply from McAuley’s Twitter account, @AcuraBray, read: “Your a P***. Don’t tell us white guys what we can and can’t do.”
The International Development Minister reported the rant to police who began a probe to identify the person who posted it.
Officers from Police Scotland’s crime campus at Gartcosh tracked it to an account belonging to McAuley, who lives in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.
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He appeared at Airdrie Sheriff Court where he pled guilty to acting in a racially aggravated manner which caused alarm and distress to Mr Yousaf by posting the message and allowing it to remain live on social media.
Today McAuley was fined by Sheriff Petra Collins.
She told him: “There’s no place in our country for comments of the nature you posted on the Twitter account.”
McAuley’s solicitor Colin Dunipace told the court: “He is not someone who holds racist views. He has learned the difficulties and problems that posting on social media can bring, particularly when under the influence of alcohol.
“He bitterly regrets getting involved in this and he didn’t appreciate the distress it would cause.
“People in the public sector are entitled to do their jobs without being subjected to this kind of abuse.
“Mr McAuley has made a grave, grave, error of judgement.”
Sheriff Collins gave McAuley two months to pay the fine.
Mr Yousaf said: “I would like to thank Police Scotland and the Procurator Fiscal’s office for their investigations.
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“This case demonstrates that Scotland will take a zero-tolerance approach to racism or any hate crime.
“It also shows that racists will not be able to hide behind the anonymity of the internet - if you commit cyber hate crimes you will be investigated.
“We’ve heard of a recent spike in hate crime following the brutal attacks in Paris. It is important that anyone who suffers any hate and abuse reports this to the Police.”
Mr Yousaf, a prominent campaigner for Syrian refugees in recent months, has repeatedly been a target for racist abuse.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, police launched a probe after he was reportedly swamped with ‘dozens’ of posts on Facebook and Twitter accusing him of supporting the Isis terrorists behind the atrocity.
Some posts accused the Glasgow MSP of supporting IS or called for him to be deported to Syria - and even for his mutilation.
In July, a racist thug was sentenced to unpaid work for abusing Mr Yousaf as he sold the Big Issue to highlight poverty.
Christopher Chisholm, 31, targeted the politician outside Queen Street station in Glasgow city centre.
He was caught on camera saying “benefit locust” before telling Glasgow-born Yousaf: “You’re not from my country.”
Mr Yousaf is the son of immigrants; his mother hails from Kenya and his father from Pakistan.