Suspended jail term for ‘thug’

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A ‘loutish thug’ is how a judge described a Lurgan man after hearing how he assaulted a security guard at Tesco.

Scott Houston of Knocknashane Park in Lurgan pleaded guilty to assaulting and harassing the security guard last year.

Deputy Judge Neil Rafferty asked to see the CCTV footage. The court viewed how Houston had gone to the security guard’s work. A few minutes into the video, Houston is seen becoming aggressive to the guard. While Houston was grappling with the security guard, other customers walked in through the door and ignored the fracas. Judge Rafferty asked: “Is it commonplace to walk through a superstore in Portadown and walk through this?”

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard that on October 4 at 8.30pm police were called to Tesco. The injured party was ‘very confused’ and it transpired he had suffered a mild concussion and bruising.

Houston’s lawyer said: “Clearly what is shown on CCTV is shameful behaviour.”

However, the judge said what was worse was the harassment of the injured party at his place of work. Houston pleaded guilty to harassment of the injured party between July 14 and October 4, 2014.

Judge Rafferty said: “He is mouthing out at me. He will do it from the dock.” Houston was told to enter the dock.

Houston’s lawyer said the injured party had ‘rugby tackled’ the defendant to the ground and Houston has little memory of the incident due to alcohol. He added Houston had suffered cognitive issues following a car crash in 2012.

The Judge asked what Houston had against the injured party - to which the defence lawyer said, “nothing in particular”. The judge said: “Your behaviour is like a loutish thug. To get drunk and go to a man’s place of work and to beat him. That is the action of a thug and a lout.”

Houston was given eight months in prison for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three months in jail for harassment. Both sentences were suspended for three years and he was ordered to pay £500 compensation.