Man upset over diversion

A Queenstown man is upset a drunken Scotsman knocked his turban from his head and only received diversion for it.

Jasmail Singh, a 26-year-old Sikh living in Queenstown, says the man who took his turban from his head last Monday night should be charged with assault and dealt with by the court.

Mr Singh had been working night shift at McDonald's at midnight, when a 19-year-old Scottish man walking past the Camp St premises grabbed his turban and ran.

The man was initially charged with disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence, but has since been granted diversion and will fly home to Scotland this week. Senior Constable Chris Blackford interviewed him when he had sobered up the morning after, and was satisfied the act had no racist intent.

''It wasn't a hate crime or racially motivated,'' Snr Const Blackford said.

The 19-year-old was ordered to pay $500 in emotional reparation.

Mr Singh turned the payment down and has since asked police to charge the man with assault, but this was declined.

''He should appear in the court.

''He should be charged with assault,'' Mr Singh said.

The force the Scottish man used amounted to assault in his opinion, but he was satisfied the act was purely a drunken prank and not racist, Mr Singh said.

Sergeant Blair Duffy, of Queenstown, met Mr Singh last week and explained why the charge of assault was not laid. Mr Singh said he was so upset he ran downstairs at the McDonald's restaurant because he could not face the ''shame'' of showing his hair in public as his religion forbade it.

He has had two meetings with Victim Support to help him deal with the issue.

Victims must agree to diversion

This is a real shame, as the offender obviously didn't understand the impact of taking a Sikh's turban - a lot more than a prank.

The thing I don't really understand is the victim's issue with the diversion. I have been the victim of crime and as far as I understand it, a diversion is only granted if the victim agrees to it. From what I can tell, Mr Singh must have changed his mind after agreeing and, unfortunately, I doubt the police can go back once the diversion is granted. Although, in my case, what the diversion meant wasn't clearly explained to me, and I wonder if that is the case here too.

If it's still possible, I encourage Mr Singh to accept the payment. I understand that it may feel like a cheap way for the offender to buy himself out of trouble, but the money could be donated to Victim Support where it will be put to good use.