Sacked chef admits anti-Semitic comment

A chef shouted anti-Semitic abuse at the owner of a Berwick hotel after he was handed a letter of dismissal.

Friday, 27th April 2018, 9:15 am
The Cobbled Yard in Berwick.

Giancarlo Meringolo, 31, of Osborne Crescent in Tweedmouth pleaded guilty to a charge of causing racially aggravated alarm or distress when he appeared at Berwick Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The court was told that the defendant had worked at the Cobbled Yard Hotel since April 2017.

The hotel came under new ownership in September and the court heard there had been tensions over the defendant’s refusal to tell owner Paul McPhail one of his recipes.

Rehana Haque, prosecuting, said the owners wanted the recipe so they could serve the dish on the chef’s day off.

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When the defendant refused, they decided to take it off the menu altogether.

The court heard there was a heated row and the defendant walked out but he later apologised and it was agreed to make a fresh start.

Mrs Haque went on to explain that problems resurfaced over the Christmas and New Year period when the defendant phoned in sick or did not turn up. The owners decided in mid-January that they did not want to employ him any further.

The court heard that on January 16 the defendant was handed a letter of dismissal and went to confront Mr McPhail.

Magistrates were told that he was asked to leave but he became aggressive, making Mr McPhail feel intimidated.

The defendant shouted abuse at Mr McPhail and called him a Jewish ----.

In a letter read to the court, Mr McPhail said that he had found the comment ‘highly upsetting’.

In mitigation, Ian O’Rourke, said: “The defendant says they knew he was away and they were looking for an excuse to dismiss him.

“He accepts he lost his temper and used an abusive term by referring to Mr McPhail’s Jewish origin. As unpleasant and anti-Semitic as it was,the remark was made in temper and anger as a result of something else.”

The defendant was ordered to pay £100 compensation to Mr McPhail and must not enter the Cobbled Yard. He must also pay fines and costs of £315.