Northern Ireland news

Man 'punched barber shop owner after being challenged about regularly using electricity to charge phone'

Laganside Court in Belfast

A man punched a barber shop owner and threatened to burn down his business after being confronted about using electricity to charge his phone, a court has been told.

Noel McGaw was given a four-month suspended jail term for the attack, which also involved kicking in a window at the premises in north Belfast.

The 21-year-old, of Lochinver Drive in the city, was convicted of common assault, criminal damage and threats to damage property at the Bhoys Barbers on the Antrim Road.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he became violent during an encounter with the proprietor on September 17 this year.

A prosecution lawyer said McGaw came into the barber shop on a regular basis, using its electricity to charge his phone without availing of any other services.

When confronted about it outside the business he responded aggressively, kicking and smashing a glass panel in the door.

McGaw was then said to have punched the owner as he tried to phone police.

In an incident witnessed by other members of the public, he also threatened to burn down the shop.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told the court his client's behaviour was fuelled by alcohol.

The barrister submitted that McGaw is trying to address his problems, and has been given a chance by another court.

Imposing four months' imprisonment, District Judge Fiona Bagnall suspended the sentence for 18 months.

She also ordered McGaw to pay £100 compensation to cover the cost of replacing the broken shop window.

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Northern Ireland news