Offence Type: Assault
Description of the Offence
The security guard of a local supermarket, Thomas Smith, was working at the front desk of the store when a male and female customer told him that they were being followed by somebody who was in the car park. Thomas adjusted the security cameras to see what was going on and his attention was drawn to a male jumping up and down on a car and kicking it. Thomas went outside and stated that the offender noticed him walking towards him in the car park, he deviated from his path and walked to wards him. As the pair have come within 2 or so metres of each other, the offender adopted a fighting stance making ‘karate’ motions and being very aggressive. The male then started to throw punches at him, most of which were blocked before a punch landed on his right cheek causing injury to his ear. Thomas states that he held his arms and head down with another colleague and restrained him whilst they waited for the police to arrive.
The victim of the offence is Thomas Smith, who is the security guard at the supermarket. Thomas stated that at the time of the offence he felt intimidated by the offender due to his unpredictable behaviour however the offence did not have a lasting emotional or psychological impact on himself as he was simply ‘doing his job’ and he did not personally know the offender. However, Thomas was particularly concerned about the female members of staff at the supermarket who have since felt threatened and unsafe. He was also concerned as it happened so quick he would not recognise the offender if he returned to the store.
By engaging in the Restorative Justice process, Thomas wished to know why the offender behaved as he did and also wanted to make sure that he did not return to the store again to cause trouble. He was also very keen to know if the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time. The offender has since been barred from this supermarket and Thomas wanted the offender to know this.
Thomas hoped that after the Restorative Justice process, it would enable staff in the supermarket to feel safe again when doing their jobs. He stated that the reason for taking part in this process is for the other staff members. Thomas also spoke to the supermarket’s manager about the Restorative Justice process and he stated that he was happy that he Thomas was doing it for the benefit of others.
The offender, Paul Thomson initially stated that at the time of the offence he was not thinking clearly and it was a ‘drunken mistake’ which he fully regretted as soon as he got arrested and was taken to the police station. Paul did not remember what happened at the time of the offence as he had too much to drink. He remembers drinking with his friends but does not remember actually committing the offence. Paul states that this type of behaviour was very out of character for himself. Paul stated that prior to the offence he was having a difficult time at home since previously being released from prison and this is what led up to him drinking on the day of the offence.
Paul stated that he decided to take part in the Restorative Justice process for himself to allow him to fully understand the impact of his offending behaviour on the victim. Paul was also very keen to speak with the victim to answer any questions that he may have and explain himself and let the victim know how sorry he is. In a progress meeting with the facilitator, Paul stated ‘I want to walk around with my head held high knowing that I am a decent, approachable person’. Paul appeared very distressed and upset when talking about the offence and the impact that it may have had on the victim.
Indirect restorative justice took place in the form of a message being passed from the offender to the victim then a further letter exchange took place. Initially, the offender was very keen for the facilitator to pass a message to the victim to tell him that he was truly sorry for what he did and in no way did he intend to make him feel threatened or scared. This message was passed on which the victim then accepted but said that he would still like to receive a letter from the offender. I supported Paul in writing the letter due to him being dyslexic and struggling to read and write. In the letter, Paul spoke about his personal situation outside of prison, what happened leading up to the offence and he also clearly stated a number of times how truly sorry and disappointed in himself he was since committing the offence. Paul also wrote in the letter how sorry he was to other staff members who were affected by the offence.
After writing the letter, Paul Thomson said he felt ‘like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders’ and he felt a huge sense of relief after finally being able to say sorry for what had happened. Paul stated how happy he was that he was given the opportunity to participate in Restorative Justice.
After receiving the letter, Thomas Smith said that he felt a sense of relief and comfort knowing that the offender did not intend to hurt anybody and also did not intend to come back to the store. Thomas stated that the offender is welcome to go into the supermarket to apologise to the manager, then it would be the managers’ discretion as to whether he would remain barred from the store. Thomas stated that prior to Remedi’s involvement he had not heard of restorative justice before, however he said how happy he was that he took part and intended to take the letter to the supermarket store manager to help put the other staff members’ minds at rest. After reading about the offenders personal situation and what led up to the offence, Thomas said although it was no excuse for what he did, he had a better understanding about why he behaved as he did and he was just happy knowing there is no risk of the offender coming back to cause trouble.