A 'SMIRKING' thug who hit a man in the face with a plank of wood for speaking Spanish has told a court that he's not racist.

Daniel Way, of Albert Road in Poole, heard victim Tomas Gil speaking his native language to his girlfriend in Old Christchurch Road in the early hours of May 19.

After telling Mr Gil to "speak English", Way walked over to the Bravo takeaway and wrenched a plank of wood from the building.

He then returned and hit the victim in the face with it.

Way, 37, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, October 7 to be sentenced after he admitted racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

The incident was captured on CCTV.

Prosecutor Simon Jones told the court that the defendant "screamed" at the victim: "******* Spanish, speak in English."

"[Way] swings the piece of wood, using it as a weapon, and strikes Mr Gil," Mr Jones said.

"Mr Gil sustained cuts and bruises to the mouth.

"He falls straight on the floor and seems knocked back for a moment.

"He described a feeling of losing consciousness."

Way was restrained by members of the public until police arrived.

He gave an initial 'no comment' interview, but was shown images of Mr Gil's injuries.

An officer observed that Way "smirked" when he saw the pictures.

However, Guy Draper, mitigating, said Way is a "genuinely remorseful defendant" and was "driven to tears" when he watched the CCTV footage.

"This is disgraceful behaviour," the barrister said.

"There was a very recent break-up with a girlfriend. Probably because of this, he then started to medicate his upset by drinking too much on that night."

Way had also recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and didn't realise that his medication didn't mix well with alcohol, Mr Draper said.

"He can't quite get to the bottom of why he did what he did," he added.

"He is extremely ashamed of his use of racist language.

"He can't recall ever holding racist views."

Judge Brian Forster called Way's offending "totally unacceptable".

"On the morning in question, you took part in what can only be considered to be totally gratuitous and unnecessary violence," he told the defendant.

The judge said he had considered Way's "emotionally fragile state" before sentencing him to 12 months in prison, suspended for 15 months.

Way must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and participate in 25 rehabilitation activity days, as well as pay his victim £800.

Ambulances were called when the defendant collapsed outside the court after the sentencing hearing.

He was treated at the scene for shock and allowed to return home.