1493777772565 - Drunken punches swung during supermarket stand-off

Drunken punches swung during supermarket stand-off

A drunk woman punched a supermarket worker in the face after taking exception to being accused of stealing.

A sentencing judge said Debra Ann Baker’s actions on March 6 highlighted the need for her to follow through on her attempts to get help for her drinking problem.

“For you it’s a dangerous drug and it’s one you have to take control of before it takes control of you,” Judge Chris Sygrove said.

At 7.50pm, an intoxicated Baker was at the self-service checkout in the Countdown supermarket in Spotswood, New Plymouth.

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She was approached by a staff member who asked whether she had paid for all her grocery items, an accusation Baker did not take well.

She started to yell about being accused of stealing.  A checkout supervisor intervened to try and explain what was happening.

“The defendant took a step back,  swearing as she raised her right fist and punched the victim in the right side of his body,” the summary of facts stated. Baker swung again and connected with the victim’s right cheek.

Police arrived shortly afterwards and advised the defendant she was under arrest.

As police tried to handcuff her, she swore and tried to wrestle herself away. Two officers were needed to restrain Baker and take her to the patrol car.

As the defendant was being put into the back of the car by a constable, Baker yelled at him and kicked out at him using both feet.  

She then spat in his direction and continued to hurl abuse.

The 47-year-old previously pleaded guilty to common assault, assaults police and resisting police.

At her sentencing in the New Plymouth District Court, Sygrove said Baker’s level of intoxication played a major part in the offending.

“You were clearly under the influence of alcohol on that day,” he said. However, he was happy to hear she had since taken steps to get help to address her drinking problem.

​​Baker was sentenced to 12 months’ supervision and 120 hours of community work.