Student spared jail after cops called to reports on man with knife in Sunderland city centre bar

A student has avoided a jail term after being caught with a knife in a Sunderland city centre pub.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 10:03 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Magistrates told Reagan Ngatunyi, 26, of Clanny House, Peacock Street West, Sunderland, that his previous good character and lack of convictions meant he could avoid a spell behind bars.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Ngatunyi, who is studying for a Master’s degree in business administration, was spotted with a blade of between 5in and 7in in The Borough boozer, Vine Place, on Saturday, November 15.

Police who arrived and searched him found no weapon on him, but it was seen lying on the floor nearby and he was arrested.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Prosecutor Paul Anderson told the court: “Police are called because it’s believed that this man has a knife about his person in The Borough public house.

“They search him and don’t find it but it is seen by another customer on the floor. It seems it’s been dropped on the floor. He accepts having a knife in a public place which is a serious offence.”

In a Probation Service report, Ngatunyi, who arrived in Sunderland from London and plans to stay in the UK to work, admitted he would have brought out the blade in public for protection but would not have used it.

Tom Morgan, defending, said: “He’s in a foreign country, he’s made a very poor decision and fortunately no-one has been hurt.

“It’s in a glasses case in his pocket and he’s dropped it. He’s just been very foolish.

“The implications on his good character will no doubt have a big impact on his career.”

Nicola Burns, chair of the magistrates’ bench, said: “The offence is squarely in the custody bracket.

“Given your previous good character and fact that you have no previous convictions, we feel that it would be disproportionate to give you a custodial sentence.”

Ngatunyi, who admitted illegally having a knife in a public place, was handed a two-year community order with the provision of 20 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service and 300 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £85 courts costs and a £90 victim surcharge and magistrates ordered the weapon be forfeited.