Man who'd had five coffees goes berserk at Hastings cinema

Author
Hawkes Bay Today,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 2:11PM
Hastings City Assist help direct traffic on the day a man went berserk on coffee at Focal Point Cinema. Photo / File
Hastings City Assist help direct traffic on the day a man went berserk on coffee at Focal Point Cinema. Photo / File

A man having an adverse reaction to coffee threw up in a Hastings movie theatre, squirted water at people, headbutted a staff member and then resisted arrest.

Bruce Ellery Royal , 43, pleaded guilty in the Hastings District Court on Tuesday to charges of common assault and resisting police.

On October 10, 2018, Royal - not usually a coffee drinker - entered Focal Point Cinema after drinking five cups of black coffee in a short period of time.

He threw up in the foyer - helping staff to clean it up with a mop and bucket, the summary of facts of the case states.

Royal then walked over towards the counter, pushing a staff member out of the way, before making his way behind and took four bottles of water - valued at $4 each - out of the fridge.

He once again pushed the staff member out of the way ending back up on the public side of the counter.

His caffeine-fuelled behaviour then escalated.

Royal began to drink from the bottles before squirting members of the public with water.

The manager of Focal Point Cinema then approached Royal who became aggressive, stepped towards him and head-butted him in the face.

The manager suffered a "sore nose and lip" and the police were called to the scene.

Royal was approached by the police and was informed that he was under arrest, but he pushed the officer and ran away.

He was confronted by another officer and again ran, but then tripped over as he headed towards the exit.

A police constable and several other police officers tried to handcuff him on the ground but he refused to place his arms behind his back.

He was instructed and warned to stop resisting but continued to physically resist by holding his arms rigid in front of him.

It took three officers to handcuff him.

Defence counsel Matthew Dixon told Judge Chris Sygrove that Royal had successfully completed anger management classes and said the cinema staff were understanding in regards to the incident.

"They hold no ill-will towards him," he said.

"I hope as a result of being arrested and being dragged through the court that you won't repeat this performance," Judge Sygrove said to Royal.

He was ordered to pay a $300 fine by April 2 and was also ordered to appear in court when called upon.

At the time of his arrest, Royal told police "he was stressed out, but was sorry for his actions".

He has not previously appeared before the court.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Health said health experts only recommended drinking limited amounts of liquids which contained caffiene.

"Tea and coffee both contain caffeine (a stimulant) and tea contains tannins, which lower the amount of iron that the gut absorbs. Therefore, the Ministry of Health recommends drinking only moderate amounts of tea and coffee."

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