ROUGH JUSTICE

By MADELEINE DOHERTY

A POTTSVILLE grocer is $10,000 out of pocket in legal costs after trying to defend his shop from a "kicking, punching and spitting" youth.

During the incident it was claimed the youth threatened to harm the grocer's family.

Kevin Huddle, 46, owner and manager of Pottsville IGA store, pleaded guilty in Tweed Heads Court yesterday to assaulting a juvenile at his store earlier this year.

The court heard the juvenile, who previously had robbed the IGA of $500, had been barred from the store. The matter has since been dealt with in the Children's Court.

Counsel for Huddle, Southport barrister Michael Campbell, yesterday told the court the juvenile had been sitting adjacent to the IGA store on June 12 eating fish and chips when witnesses saw him shouting abuse at Huddle.

The juvenile had then entered the store where he continued to swear, shout and wave his arms demanding he be served, Mr Campbell told the court.

Huddle removed the juvenile from the shop as customers and staff became frightened by the disturbance. The juvenile then ripped off his shirt and goaded Huddle to fight him.

The juvenile "kicked, punched and spat" at Huddle for five to 10 minutes before threatening Huddle's family, the court was told.

"I know where you live and I'll do your wife and kids," Mr Campbell alleged the juvenile said to his client.

"My client (Huddle), upset, pulled his cardboard-cutting knife from his pocket, grabbed the juvenile around the throat and said 'you touch my wife and kids and I'll cut your head off'," Mr Campbell said.

"It was in that climate that my client has pleaded guilty to assault," he said.

About 20 references from business people and a catholic priest from Pottsville, were tendered to the court.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said while he did not condone the "knife being pulled" he at least understood. The matter was dismissed with no conviction recorded.

Huddle then took out an AVO against the juvenile.

Legal costs for Huddle are expected to be about $10,000.



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