Berwick man jailed for restaurant attack
A Berwick man has been jailed for smashing the windows of the former Lazeez restaurant in Golden Square.
Mark Slight, of Sea View, Highfields, was sentenced to 14 days in prison when he appeared at Berwick Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.
The 35-year-old had pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage at a previous hearing.
The court heard the incident happened on June 5, and stemmed from a video posted on Facebook by Lazeez owner Ali Eldessouky in which he made comments about terrorist attacks in London and Paris.
Rehena Haque, prosecuting, told magistrates that the defendant was identified by local police officers from CCTV footage which showed a man running off after smashing the restaurant windows.
She also told magistrates that the defendant had a long history of offending, with 63 convictions for 126 offences.
The court heard that the latest offence had put the defendant in breach of a suspended sentence issued last year for shoplifting.
Richard Scott, in mitigation, said: “This was completely different to any kind of offence he has been involved with before.
“The day before this happened, there was a posting on social media of Mr Eldessouky with a group of friends in an open-top car shouting extremist comments.
“It came to the attention of locals in Berwick and there was quite a bit of hostility towards Mr Eldessouky.
“My client took it upon himself to smash a couple of windows. He should not have behaved the way he did but feelings were running high.”
He also told the court that his client suffered from chronic epilepsy as a result of prolonged drug abuse.
“This is a man who needs help and support, especially in view of his health,” he said.
William Cresswell, of the Salvation Army, told magistrates the defendant had been helping out there for over a year.
However, magistrates said: “We consider this a serious offence with the aggravating factor of racical hatred and a non-custodial sentence cannot be justified.”
The defendant must also pay £200 compensation to Mr Eldessouky.