Belgian man sentenced for spitting on people in supermarket
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    Belgian man sentenced for spitting on people in supermarket

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    A 58-year-old man was sentenced to one year in prison on Friday for spitting on people in a Delhaize supermarket in Belgium last May.

    With the verdict, Bruges’ criminal court added four months and a €1,600 fine to the public prosecutor’s demand for eight months in prison.

    On 1 May, convict Peter J. entered a Proxy Delhaize supermarket in the coastal town of Bredene, 20 kilometres west of Bruges. Another shopper made a comment about J. cutting in line at the supermarket queue, after which J. reportedly lost his temper.

    “He was spitting on anyone and anything,” public prosecutor Lode Vandaele told the court. Vandaele added that J. threatened the police after he was taken into custody, telling them he would “put a bullet through their brains” once he was freed.

    Lawyer Chanel Ribas Colomar spoke in J.’s defence, stating that he had not been spitting on people, but “knew very well that what he had done was not okay”. Ribas Colomar added that his behaviour was influenced by J.’s difficult living situation, as he was unable to obtain social housing and staying at a friend’s house at the time of the incident.

    A conditional sentence was not optional in this case, as J. has previously been sentenced to 18 years of forced labour in 1985 by the court of Bruges. J. had acted as a look-out for two of his friends while they robbed and murdered a photographer.

    In May, Belgium had been in lockdown for nearly two months. Face masks did not become obligatory in supermarkets until 11 July.

    Amée Zoutberg
    The Brussels Times