An Armagh man who stole prawn crackers and assaulted a staff member at a Chinese takeaway after his card payment was declined has been sentenced to probation and community service.
The case of Robbie Nesbitt, of Ballybrannon Road, was heard at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry Courthouse on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old was charged with burglary of a non-dwelling and common assault.
The court was told that on August 28 of last year, police received a report of an assault at the Golden Bamboo takeaway on the Portadown Road, Armagh.
Police spoke with the injured party who stated that the defendant had entered the takeaway and placed an order. He then became “very upset and angry” when the order was declined as he did not have enough money to pay.
The defendant then entered the staff-only area of the business via the back door, without the permission of staff. The injured party stated that the defendant had taken a packet of prawn crackers and left.
When the injured party followed the defendant outside, he pushed them into a parked car and grabbed their right arm, leaving a bruise.
The defendant was interviewed at Banbridge custody and made admissions to the burglary and the common assault.
A defence solicitor told the court that his client was “racked with remorse” from the incident, with it having occurred during a “difficult patch” in his life.
He explained that the defendant had made “full and frank” admissions to the charges and that within a day of the incident he had written a letter of apology to the injured party, together with “more than restitution” for the product that was stolen.
District Judge Anne Marshall, who had seen the images of the bruise caused to the injured party, said that this was a “serious incident”.
District Judge Marshall said to the defendant, “you came in and made a nuisance of yourself over payment”, but conceded that the defendant was remorseful and had a good work history.
However, she noted with concern that the defendant had previously been given a suspended sentence for an assault, which had expired in December 2021.
“I have to say I am quite concerned about your resorting to violence,” she added.
On passing sentence, District Judge Marshall imposed a probation order for a period of one year and a community service order of 80 hours.
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