Northern Ireland news

Man jailed for assault at an ATM in south Belfast sparked by lack of social distancing

Laganside Court in Belfast

A 31-year-old man has been jailed for three months for an assault at an ATM sparked by social distancing.

Jason Thomas Strain was sentenced at Belfast Magistrates Court after he admitted charges of common assault, disorderly behaviour and possessing cannabis.

A prosecutor told District Judge Mark Hamill that police were called to a Tesco store on the Ormeau Road on May 28 due to a man causing a disturbance.

When officers arrived at the store, they saw an intoxicated Strain who was being verbally abusive. From Drumbeg Drive in Dunmurry, Strain was warned about his behaviour but after this continued, he was handcuffed.

Whilst at the scene, police were made aware that a man had been threatened and struck by Strain at a nearby ATM. Strain was arrested and when searched in custody, he was found to be in possession of a bud of herbal cannabis.

When the prosecutor was asked about the incident at the ATM, she said Strain had been standing close to the man, started acting aggressively then struck out at him.

Solicitor Norman Shannon said his client Strain was "very drunk at the time" and that at the ATM, words were exchanged about social distancing.

Mr Shannon said that due to Strain's limited recollection "he may have been shouting" and that the man in front "may have felt in fear."

The solicitor said that as the offences occurred whilst Strain was on licence, this was revoked and he is currently back in custody.

District Judge Mark Hamill also fined Strain £150 for the drugs offence.

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