Jail sentence imposed on man for spitting at Tesco security guard

A 47-YEAR-OLD man in a Covid-related queue to get into a supermarket spat at a security guard when he was told that he had been previously barred from the premises.

James Ryan has now been sentenced to five months in jail for assault and two months concurrent for engaging in threatening behaviour.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: 

“It was a particularly despicable act during Covid and I am sure it was of concern to the person who received the spit from Mr Ryan.”

Solicitor Frank Buttimer said Ryan, of 2 Orrery Terrace, Blarney Street, Cork, was embarrassed in front of others when he was told that he had been previously barred from the supermarket’s premises.

Sergeant Pat Lyons said at Cork District Court that Ryan began shouting at the security guard outside Tesco in Wilton, Cork, on April 28, 2020.

He was in a queue to get into the store that was operating because of Covid restrictions when he started shouting at the member of staff.

A second member of staff then arrived at the scene, where Ryan was becoming more abusive.

The 47-year-old then spat at one of the men and the saliva landed on the injured party’s jumper.

Sgt Lyons said the accused man had 159 previous convictions, including four for assault and one for assault causing harm. He pleaded guilty to an assault charge arising out of this incident.

Mr Buttimer said: “There is no victim impact statement. It was an offence more than an assault.

Offence was taken, there is no doubt.

“He was attempting to gain entry.

He accepts he had a history in the store.

“There was some embarrassment caused by being told he could not get into the store.

It was a reaction.”

Earlier this week, Ryan got a sentence of eight months for shoplifting at B&Q and Woodie’s in Cork, where he stole a shower unit and a power-washer from the stores, respectively.

Mr Buttimer said there had been recent bereavements in the defendant’s family that had devastating consequences.

Sergeant John Kelleher said that Ryan’s previous convictions included 85 counts of theft – mainly from stores in and around Cork City.

Judge Kelleher said that for the most recent two thefts alone, two shops, which employ people in Cork, were at a loss of EUR570 that would never be recovered.

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