Man who racially abused MSP Humza Yousaf escapes jail

The MSP at Queen Street station
The MSP at Queen Street station

A Gartcosh man who 
admitted racially abusing an MSP in Glasgow has been 
ordered to carry out 90 hours of unpaid work.

Christopher Chisholm, 31, targeted Humza Yousaf as the politician took part in a Big 
Issue awareness initiative 
outside Queen Street station in the city centre on February 7.

He told the Scottish politician “You’re not from my country” and called him 
“a benefits locust”.

Mr Yousaf was with a Big Issue vendor trying to sell the magazine to commuter to highlight poverty.

Chisholm – who has previous breach of the peace convictions with religious and sexual orientation aggravations – told those filming the even: “Take a photo of that mate, that’s a benefit locust”.

The dad-of-one then declined to buy a Big Issue from the politician saying “You’re not from my country”.

Last month at Glasgow Sheriff Court, married Chisholm from Gartcosh, pled guilty to acting in a racially 
aggravated manner.

Today (Tuesday) 
Sheriff Andrew Mackie told him: “Your behaviour was deplorable on this occasion.

“There is no place for the type of conduct you displayed in Scottish society.”

He handed Chisholm a community payback order with the condition he be supervised for 12 months and must carry out 90 hours of 
unpaid work within six months.

Procurator fiscal depute Adele MacDonald told the court celebrities, politicians and other well-known people were invited to take part in the charity week, selling the Big Issue to raise awareness.

She said: “The complainer in this case was a member of the Scottish Parliament Humza Yousaf who although born in this country is of Pakistani ethnicity.

“He was taking part in the Big Issue charity event and was wearing a red Big Issue vendor’s jacket.

“There were other people there from the Big Issue attending the event along with a Big Issue seller.”

The court heard there were also student journalists filming the event around 4pm at the entrance to Queen Street station at Dundas Street.

Miss MacDonald said Mr Yousaf was attempting to sell the magazine around 4.45pm to commuters when Chisholm walked across the front of the camera and commented.

She added: “Mr Yousaf asked the accused, ‘Would you like to buy a Big Issue?’ and the accused replied ‘No I don’t mate, you’re not from my country and you’re selling the Big Issue’.

“Mr Yousaf then stated ‘I think you will find I was born here pal’. The accused then stated ‘Aye maybe you were but the rest of the people weren’t’.”

He was also captured on camera swearing and saying “benefit locust” and “charity begins at home”.

The court heard the incident was reported to the police on February 13 and there was a media campaign to try to identify Chisholm after the footage was posted online.

He was eventually traced and invited to the police station but he declined and said he would speak to a lawyer.

When officers arrived at his door he was recognised from CCTV and arrested for a racist breach of the peace.

Miss MacDonald added: “Police officers thereafter took him to Govan police office were he was formally cautioned and charged and his answer to caution and charge was ‘not guilty no comment’.”

Defence lawyer Laura Kiernan said her client had been drinking on the train and when he arrived he saw the cameras and vendor, and approached them.

She described his actions as a “brief outburst” adding “albeit I accept and Mr Chisholm accepts, unpleasant”.

Miss Kiernan said Chisholm apologises to Mr Yousaf for his behaviour and anyone who may have seen it and “rectified” his behaviour by no longer drinking.

The sheriff highlighted the previous convictions with aggravations relating to football and religion, and sexual orientation.

Chisholm was hit with a £600 fine at the same court after he ran on to the pitch at Hampden as Rangers beat Celtic in the 2003 League Cup final.

The defence lawyer said: “That was at a football match when legislation was recently brought in, at that time perhaps while Glasgow was going through a cultural change.”

She said he was fined for the conviction with the sexual orientation aggravation and that he was going through a “particularly traumatic time”.