An ice-cream man has pleaded guilty to punching a 12-year-old boy who flooded his van by pulling the lever on the Mr Whippy machine.
Alan Donaldson, 58, lost his temper after the boy asked for a free ice cream – and if he could pull the dispenser handle.
The court heard Donaldson replied ‘Only if you want a smack,’ before the boy jumped up, reached over and pulled the lever, discharging ice cream all over the floor.
Donaldson then hit the youngster with a clenched fist breaking one of his teeth, but immediately said that he had not meant to make contact.
He told the boy: ‘I didn’t mean to hit you, I thought you were further away.’
The boy then left with his friends and met his mother to tell her what had happened.
Donaldson subsequently turned himself in at the police station and told officers he had not intended to hit the boy, but scare him away.
He pleaded guilty at a previous hearing and was sentenced to 120 hours community service at Guernsey Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Prosecuting officer Jenny McVeigh said that on the day in question the van was parked up at Peter Port in Guernsey.
In mitigation, Advocate Sam McDonald, defending, said that Donaldson had been sent many message of support from islanders on social media.
She added: ‘What has come to light is that he is a very well-respected member of this community.
‘Quite simply he had not had a good day. While this did not excuse Donaldson’s action, it did explain it.’
On that day the van he would normally use had broken down so he had to operate from an alternative one in which the cooling system was broken so he had been working in 30C temperatures.
Donaldson had always had a good rapport with the children he served, she said, and was used to dealing with boisterous or ‘cheeky’ youngsters.
When he struck out at the 12-year-old ‘it was clear that both he and the child were shocked’ when the blow made contact.
Judge Graham McKerrell gave Donaldson full credit for his early guilty plea and said that he would treat Donaldson as a person of good character.
Passing sentence he said he was prepared to treat the matter as a one-off aberration, but nonetheless had to take into consideration the seriousness of the matter.
He told him: ‘One cannot go around, in any circumstances, striking 12-year-old boys.’