Hilltown man smashed cafe door in an act of ‘social disobedience’

Hilltown man smashed cafe door in an act of ‘social disobedience’

The case was heard at Newry Magistrates' Court.

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A MAN who smashed the door of a Hilltown cafe said he did it as an act of "civil disobedience" during the first Covid lockdown.

Daniel Mussen, 41, of Kennedy Drive, was convicted of criminal damage and burglary with intent to cause criminal damage at Newry Magistrates' Court.

The court heard that on 4 June, 2020 at 4.12am police received a radio transmission regarding an incident in Hilltown.

A man in all black, wearing black shorts and a black face mask was seen leaving Kay's Cafe and walking in the direction of Castlewellan and didn't appear to be holding anything.

He was stopped by police at 4.33am heading towards Castlewellan, wearing a black hoodie and dark coloured knee length shorts.

Mussen was arrested and made full admissions and said he had thrown a brick at the window and when it didn't break he then threw an item at the door of the cafe.

He said it was an act of "social disobedience and political disobedience".

Defence counsel said Mussen was someone with "acute mental health conditions".

"But he's not dealing with those," interjected Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall. "He needs to engage with services, he clearly needs help."

"I think Your Worship's observations are quite correct," replied his counsel.

"Has someone tried to talk sense into him?" asked the judge.

"It's quite difficult to engage meaningfully with him," his defence responded.

Addressing Mussen directly, Deputy Judge Marshall said: "I have read your pre-sentence report and it's clear to me you need to engage with services to try to help you. You need to try to get yourself back into employment.

"You can't damage other people's property and not expect to have to pay for it."

She then sentenced him to serve four months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

"Make sure you take out your frustrations with other people in a different manner that doesn't involve you coming to the attention of the court."

An order to pay compensation to the owner of Kay's Cafe for the damage of the door of £463.20 was also made.

When asked if he would engage with services available to help him, Mussen said: "I will re-engage and try to address the thing. My mother and father have said to me to try to do the right thing. I should learn to just walk away."

Deputy Judge Marshall replied: "It'll help you to learn to do that if you engage with mental health services", before discharging him.

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