An Armagh man who attacked a member of staff at a Chinese takeaway on St Patrick’s Day, knocking his tooth out, has been spared a prison sentence.
The district judge told the 27-year-old that he was lucky not to be charged with a hate crime in what he branded a “disgraceful offence”.
Robbie Nesbitt, of Ballybrannon Road, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Prosecution outlined that on March 17, police received a report of an assault which occurred at Eddie’s Kitchen in Hamiltonsbawn.
At 7pm, a male had entered the side door of the takeaway, which is not open to the public, and asked a male to fight him.
He then headbutted and punched the injured party several times; his tooth was knocked out and he was left with bruising to his arm.
A fellow female employee, who is a minor currently still in school, watched in fear.
Two weeks later police seized CCTV from SuperValu and spotted a male who matched the description given by the injured party and a till receipt was obtained.
This male, the defendant, attended with police for a voluntary interview, during which he made no comment.
Deputy District Judge Liam McStay stated: “He is very fortunate not to be charged with a hate crime. This was very little more than picking on an elderly smaller Chinese man.”
Defence barrister Seamus Lannon said: “The fact is he had gone looking for someone else, this occurred in his pursuit for someone else.
“Alcohol was taken, this was early in the evening on St Patrick’s Day. He has not been able to piece together what happened and has not been before the court before.”
Deputy District Judge McStay stated: “I think this is a disgraceful offence. You are lucky it was not exacerbated by the race element. If you had made the injured party go through this all you would be looking at a long time in prison.
“You attacked a man who was smaller than you and frightened a young girl who was working in her first job.”
Nesbitt was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to pay compensation of £1,000 to the injured party within 20 weeks.