A man who sent a banana to a black man’s table has been found guilty of a hate crime.
Mark D’arcy-Smith was having a drink after work with a friend at The Richmal Crompton Wetherspoons pub in Bromley on November 8 when a waiter delivered an “anonymous gift” to his table.
The 25-year-old media and marketing executive was shocked to discover that someone in the pub had sent a 30p banana to his table, with a receipt stating “dessert”.
He told the Evening Standard: “When the banana was sent to my table, the fact that I couldn’t see who sent it made me feel all sorts of emotions at once – anger, fear, anxious, confused.
“I also felt really unwelcome and unsafe in the pub.
“I have experienced racism before, but never in this way. I’ve even been sent drinks, chips by friends all in good fun before, so this particular experience came as a bit of a shock to me.”
Police tracked down Louie Kincella as the customer who sent the banana and he was arrested at his home on January 17. He was then charged on April 3.
The 20-year-old told officers that he ordered the item as a “joke” and that he intended for it to be sent to his own table rather than that of Mr D’arcy-Smith.
Kincella, of Mottingham, was found guilty of a racially aggravated offence under the Public Order Act at Bexley Magistrate’s Court on September 11.
He was handed a £600 fine, and was ordered to pay costs of £620 in addition to the fine.
Speaking after the conviction, Mr D’arcy Smith said: “It felt like a massive weight lifted off my shoulders.
“I’d been stressing over the progress of the investigation, especially coupled with all of the racism that’s been highlighted on the news and through the worldwide protests. So the verdict felt really good to hear.”
Detective Inspector Stuart Hart, head of the Safeguarding Team, at the South Area Command Unit, said: “There was no CCTV available, and it was not a straightforward matter to identify the suspect.
“This required a painstaking investigation by my lead officer, who paid meticulous attention to minor details in order to gather the vital evidence that led to this successful result.
“Hate crimes are a priority for the Met and we take all allegations very seriously.”
JD Wetherspoon said the manager of the pub apologised to Mr D’arcy Smith following the incident.
A spokesperson told the Mirror Online: “Wetherspoon can confirm that the man is barred from the pub where the incident took place.
“The manager of the pub contacted the victim at the time to apologise on behalf of the pub and the company.”