Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Bouncers and the off-spring of 'important people'

A curious story which leaves me a little uneasy.

A bouncer at a night-club in Edinburgh decides, we know not why really, to refuse entry (re-entry) to a young man who has exited the club, apparently, to find out why his younger brother, 17-years old [*], has been refused entry. He is himself then refused re-entry to the club by the steward (aka 'bouncer') and allegedly, according to the bouncer, lunged toward him during which there was an 'accidental collision of heads'. The young man, again according to the bouncer, then said: "Do you know who my father is? You will get 12 years for this".

Obviously I have no idea of what really transpired and it may be that this story has been very poorly or incompletely reported. However there is no indication in the story that any of the basic facts, as mentioned above, are in any way inaccurate.

It so happens, though, that the father of the two young men is a High Court judge and it appears that the 'threat' to the club steward allegedly uttered by the older of the two brothers had real teeth, for the judge (sheriff) in the case has sentenced the bar steward to 240 hours community service, the maximum punishment he could impose. For good measure the sheriff has instructed the Clerk of the Court to write to the authorities "to ensure he never worked in this type of industry again".

Now it may be that the sheriff has acted entirely correctly, perhaps because he is in possession of the full facts which, perhaps, have not been included in this story. However, something about this whole scenario, from what I read, makes me think the whole case stinks to high heaven; it almost reads as if one member of the legal profession has acted to protect one of his own and automatically taken the side of the children of his fellow judge. On the other hand it may be that the person who wrote this story has some agenda of his/her own and that the reporting of this incident has been slanted to speak to that agenda.

I just don't know, but I am very uneasy with this case. What would the outcome have been if the young man (described as the 'victim' of the bouncer in the article) had not been the son of a high court judge, but instead the son of say, an office worker or a road-sweeper? Has a spoiled young man from a professional family been given a free pass because a bar steward has declined to accept his unruly behaviour? I'd like to think not, but this case leaves me wondering.

Regular visitors here will know that, whatever else I am, I am no kind of socialist and my natural instinct would be to look askance at the unruly behaviour of an apocryphally 'thuggish' club steward and sympathetically at the reaction to this situation by a young man 'of good family' and that may indeed be what has happened here. But in this instance I really don't believe it.

[*] It sounds as if the bouncer may have been quite correct in refusing entry to the 17 year-old brother, as one imagines that alcohol is widely available in such clubs; the story certainly gives no indication that the club steward acted incorrectly in that matter at least.

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