A RESTAURANT boss has been cleared of breaking immigration rules after an asylum seeker failed to attend court to give evidence against him.

Vincenzo Fuccio, 43, was so annoyed by his arrest in La Vecchia Scuola, in Low Petergate, in front of his employees and customers, that he made racist comments to police at Fulford Road Police Station, York magistrates heard.

He strongly denied employing Afghan asylum seeker Mahmood Yaqubi, knowing that under immigration rules he was forbidden to work in the UK. Mr Fuccio also denied being racially abusive towards him and assaulting him.

On the day Fuccio was due to stand trial, Mr Yaqubi failed to attend court. The prosecution offered no evidence and Fuccio was formally acquitted. Magistrates then heard Fuccio, of Low Petergate, York, had previously admitted the racial abuse at Fulford Road Police Station on August 17.

They gave him a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 prosecution costs.

His solicitor, Julian Tanikal, said Fuccio had felt the arrest was “demeaning” for him because of the “robust way” it had been done in front of staff and customers.

Mr Tanikal said: “It would have had a knock-on effect. It would have damaged the reputation of his business.”

By the time he was taken to the police station he was angry and upset and he had also had something to drink.

The combination made him behave in a way he did not usually behave. He had apologised shortly afterwards.

Fuccio now planned to move to London, Mr Tanikal said. He was part of a company that owned a series of restaurants.