Man Pleads Guilty To Ripping Plastic Off 'Non-Essential' Items In Tesco
Gwilym Llywd Owen was seen in a video shared widely online tearing sheeting from items that the Welsh Government had deemed non-essential on the clothing aisles of a Tesco in Bangor, and has today argued in court that he was at 'breaking point' over the 'unfair and illogical' coronavirus rules.
Wales was in a 17-day-long 'fire break' lockdown at the time of the incident. He was arrested by police at his home shortly after the incident.
Appearing at Caernarfon Magistrates' Court today, the 28-year-old's defence lawyer Gilly Harradence said that said that he'd become aggressive as a result of the restrictions placed on the country during that time.
She explained: "Mr Owen just wanted to highlight the unfairness and illogicality of the regulations.
"He did not expect the publicity and media interest. That was also very stressful. The video went viral and was shown worldwide.
"He did not intend to hurt or distress anybody and has apologised to staff."
However, Prosecutor Diane Williams said that Owen had lost his temper at the fact that children's clothes had been covered over with the sheeting.
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She said: "It was clear that Mr Owen was irate and was shouting about the recent lockdown measures."
Williams also argued that Owen was not wearing a mask - his defence stated that this was because of his asthma - and refusing to observe social distancing at the time of the incident.
She claims he became 'aggressive' towards police officers who visited his home later on that day.
The government of Wales banned supermarkets from selling any items deemed non-essential during their fire break, although ministers later on revisited the restrictions and changed the rules.
The court also heard a statement from Mr Owen's father in which he said that the incident showed a 'total contrast' to how his son would usually behave in shops, and towards shop workers.
He said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an untold amount of mental stress to many and appears to have had an impact on the younger generation.
"This is in total contrast to how he would have been perceived by shoppers and members of staff.
"This has come as an accumulation of several months of stress caused by the pandemic, he was pushed to breaking point."
Mr Owen will be sentenced at a later date.
Featured Image Credit: Gwilym Owen
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