'Hard day' got worse for man

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:00 21/11/2012

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After a "hard day", a Palmerston North invalid's beneficiary lashed out at a shopping centre cleaner who confronted him when he threw a soft drink can on the floor.

Joshua Mark Johnston, 33, was at The Plaza's food court as workers were cleaning up on September 8.

A cleaner spoke to him and he was asked to leave.

"[Johnston] swore at the cleaner and then punched her in the arm," a police summary said.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, Johnston admitted a charge of common assault.

Defence lawyer Tony Thackery said the incident came about after Johnston had a "big day" and he had a "lot on his mind".

"He thought [the can] was a cup. He picked it up and someone accused him of stealing it."

Johnston thought that he pushed the cleaner rather than punched her.

Judge Gregory Ross had no sympathy for Johnston and said the cleaner was the one who would have had the hard day.

"If you can't discipline yourself in public places in ordinary enough times you should stay at home," Judge Ross said.

Johnston also admitted a charge of failing to answer court bail and was sentenced to 70 hours' community work and nine months' supervision.

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- Manawatu Standard

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