Sold alcohol to an underage customer

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A judge said she was ‘gobsmacked’ how a 42-year-old man kept his job and had his hours increased at an off licence after he had sold drink to a 17-year- old youth.

Leslie Watson, of Mill Hill Mews, Waringstown, was sentenced last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court after pleading guilty at a previous court.

The defendant admitted that on April 21 this year at Ideal Wines in High Street, Lurgan, he sold or delivered intoxicating liquor to a person under 18.

The case was adjourned at the previous hearing to obtain a pre-sentence report.

A public prosecutor said that a police mobile patrol saw a young man coming out of Ideal Wines carrying a bottle of Cactus Jack and two bottles of Aftershock.

They established he was aged 17 and Watson admitted serving him and not asking for identification.

The court was told the defendant was on licence from Maghaberry prison and this ran until 2019.

A barrister representing Watson said the defendant had to accept he was not diligent enough in his dealings.

He had been in the job since last November, the court was told.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said she was ‘gobsmacked his employer knew he sold alcohol to a minor and not only kept him on but increased his hours’.

The barrister replied that Watson had been given additional training and knew he had to be vigilant.

Judge Kelly said that in her opinion this was an ‘immediate sackable offence’ but he had been rewarded with extra hours.

She sentenced Watson to three months in prison, suspended for two years.