A MAN who started off as an innocent bystander and reported an incident to the police ended up being arrested and charged.

Blackburn magistrates heard the victim had spat at Umar Abdulla Hamid's wife and made racist comments about her wearing a head scarf before he involved himself.

Duncan Nightingale, defending, said he had been told by police who had viewed the CCTV footage of the incident that Jade Cooper-Thwaite was also going to be arrested and charged with assault and racist abuse.

Hamid, 28, of Somerset Walk, Haslingden, pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour towards Miss Cooper-Thwaite. He was fined £120 with £85 costs and £32 victim surcharge.

The chairman of the magistrates said they accepted there was considerable provocation prior to the defendant striking Miss Cooper-Thwaite.

Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said CCTV showed Miss Cooper-Thwaite arguing with an Asian man outside a shop in Manchester Road, Haslingden, at about 6.30pm. Hamid and his wife pulled up in their car and somehow became embroiled in the dispute.

Mrs Hamid was seen to get out of her car and follow Miss Cooper-Thwaite before her husband got involved.

"It is accepted he had been an innocent bystander," said Miss Akhtar.

"His wife is a Caucasian and it seems the aggrieved has made comments about her wearing a head scarf.

"Miss Cooper-Thwaite may end up becoming a defendant because the police say they are going to speak to her."

Mr Nightingale said Hamid and his wife had gone to the police station to report the matter.

"Miss Cooper-Thwaite is not known to the defendant and his wife and they had simply stopped to go to the shop for some throat lozenges," said Mr Nightingale.

"The aggrieved approached the driver's side of their car and began a tirade of racist abuse towards his wife who is a white woman who has adopted the Muslim faith."

He said the aggrieved spat on Mrs Hamid who reacted to that by getting out of the car.

"My client got involved by pulling them apart and he accepts he kicked her handbag away," said Mr Nightingale.

"He and his wife then got in their car. Miss Cooper-Thwaite tried to pull the rear number plate off their vehicle and he got out again and he accepts he slapped her with an open palm after she spat at him."

Mr Nightingale said his client accepted he reacted in a way he shouldn't have done.

"I would ask you to accept there was an awful lot of provocation," said Mr Nightingale.

"These two people were simply minding their own business until Miss Cooper-Thwaite decided to drag them into the situation."