A MAN risked “killing” people by flouting coronavirus social distancing rules and harassing queuing shoppers outside a supermarket, a court heard.
Steven Mackie refused to go home when he was spotted getting too close to people outside a Tesco store in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester.
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The weekend saw people continuing to flout the lockdown and social distancing, including a group of 25 people who had a karaoke party, with people also flocking to parks and beaches and playing football.
And this morning saw Londoners were still travelling on the Tube despite being told to stay at home.
Stockport Magistrates’s Court heard how police had warned the 53-year-old Mackie about his conduct and ordered him to stay indoors.
Nick Smart, prosecuting, said Mackie had acted in an “anti-social manner” and approached people who were queuing to get into the store.
Officers spoke to him and he was unable to provide a “reasonable excuse” for being outside the store and when they detained him he started “kicking and banging” inside their vehicle.
They decided to give him a warning and told him to go home but he returned to the store around 15 minutes later.
The officers then decided “enough was enough” and arrested Mackie, who told them: “I was six feet away from people according to Boris Johnson’s guidelines.”
Mackie claimed six officers had attended the scene, adding: “Have you got nothing else better to do?”
The incident happened on the evening of 20 March and Kirsten Collins, defending, said Mackie admitted making a “stupid decision” to go to the supermarket and accepted he was “in the wrong”.
She added that he was “embarrassed’ by his behaviour and had a history of mental health issues.
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Mackie, who stood in the dock wearing a facemask, admitted one count of failing to maintain public health and causing public disorder and nuisance contrary to regulations 6, 9(1b and 4) of the Health Protection Regulations 2020.
His behaviour had breached social distancing rules and government guidelines on the restriction of movement during the emergency period.
Neill Brettell, chair of the bench, told Mackie that he’d risked killing people because of his behaviour.
“Nobody wants to self-isolate or enjoys the lockdown but the majority of people obey it and follow the laws – you don’t," said.
He added "do you want to kill people?" to which Mackie replied "no".
Mr Brettell added that Mackie had been given a “choice” by police to go home but he’d chose to ignore their advice.
He fined him £500 – but stressed he could have imposed an “unlimited” fine for such an offence – and ordered him to pay £85 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
He also warned Mackie that if he failed to pay the fine by £5 each week he could be sent to prison.
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