Homeless man punched Spoon World Buffet employee outside restaurant, court hears
A homeless man who punched a restaurant worker in Ipswich when he tried to call the police outside the eatery has been handed a community order.
D'Leon Harris, 34, of no fixed address in Ipswich, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and admitted common assault following the incident in June.
The court heard how Harris was outside the Spoon World Buffet in St Matthew's Street, Ipswich, on June 22 when he exchanged words with a group of customers standing outside the restaurant.
He then went into the restaurant looking for a friend, but was ushered out of the building by the manager.
Harris, who admitted he had been drinking but was not drunk, was then involved in an altercation outside the restaurant with the group of people.
Bailey Anderson, a restaurant employee, then went outside and tried to call the police but when Harris realised what Mr Anderson was doing, he punched him in the mouth, the court heard.
In police interview, he refused to answer questions other than to say he did not know the victim, the court heard.
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John Hughes, defending, said: "Outside the restaurant, he came into contact with a group of people, who were not particularly pleasant to him.
"He then went inside the restaurant looking for a friend and was ushered out of the place by the restaurant manager.
"He believes there was no justification for this and again comes into contact with the group outside and an altercation takes place.
"He then sees the victim on his mobile phone and agrees that he lashed out and punched him."
In a pre-sentence report from the Probation Service, magistrates heard how Harris admitted issues with alcohol and said he consumes around 48 cans a week.
Harris, who has been unemployed since 2014, has spent time sleeping rough on the streets and "sofa surfing", the court heard.
Addressing magistrates, Mr Hughes added: "As you have heard from the report, he is someone who fears he is going down a dark path."
Harris was handed a 12-month community order and ordered to undertake up to 25 Rehabilitation Activity (RA) days.
Magistrates also ordered him to pay £100 in compensation to the victim.