A trial is underway over an incident in which a takeaway owner in Scotland was forced to fight off an armed robber using a curry pot lid and a meat cleaver.
Derek Tang, 44, had no choice but to turn to crockery to defend himself and his staff when his China Town takeaway shop in Linwood, Renfrewshire, was robbed by a man identified as Allan Fordyce on 6th June last year.
Giving evidence in Paisley Sheriff Court before Sheriff Tom McCartney, Mr Tang recounted that at around 11:15pm on the night, he swiftly grasped the cooking implements after coming face-to-face with the man’s firearm – which he would later learn was an imitation, made up of two metal poles and a piece of wood in order to resemble a shotgun.
“I heard a big bang at the door, I thought there must be something wrong outside. It was very unusual,” Mr Tang told the court.
“I saw a guy with a big weapon, standing at the takeaway door, inside the kitchen. It looked like a gun. It had a double barrel and was wrapped round by a polybag. It seemed metallic.
“I thought, ‘If anything goes wrong, it’s very serious.'”
Mr Tang continued that whilst he tried to shove the double barrel away, in a matter of seconds, the robber had pulled out a knife.
It was at this point that the shop owner took a quick backwards, about a foot away from the knifeman, and took hold of the chopper to defend himself, along with the large curry pot lid to use as a shield.
The court heard the armed robber demanded money from Mr Tang, who felt threatened throughout the ordeal.
“He wanted money, he was saying, ‘Give me your money.’ I felt threatened, but at that point, he only wanted money,” the takeaway owner continued.
“My wife was nearby, in the kitchen, and staff at the other side of the takeaway.
“I thought, ‘There’s nothing I can do if something goes wrong, it’s quite life threatening.'”
Mr Tang added that he was “scared” during the incident and that he tried to get the man “out as quickly as” he could.
Accused Offender Claiming Robbery Was Actually Committed by Another Man Who Has Since Died
In an interesting turn of events, the accused Allan Fordyce has since lodged a special defence of incrimination, claiming the assault and robbery was actually committed by a man named Paul McBeth, who has since passed away.
The 54-year-old has also entered a special defence of alibi, maintaining he could not have committed the crime because was at home at the time of the offence.
Nevertheless, the shop owner has identified Mr Fordyce as the man he believes was responsible for the robbery, both in court and while reporting the incident to police.
Moreover, he said he could “guarantee” Mr McBeth was not the man who robbed his takeaway on the night in question, drawing attention to the detail of a supposed tattoo on the offender’s right hand.
Whilst the court was shown a picture of Mr McBeth lying dead on the floor of his flat in Linwood, with a yin and yang tattoo visible on his right hand, Mr Tang said he did not notice a tattoo on the robber’s hand.
The alleged offender upholds his innocence and the trial continues.
Armed Robbery Laws in New South Wales
It is an offence to steal something from someone, just as it is to threaten the person or use physical force at the time of stealing the item.
In NSW, if you steal something from someone and you are armed with a weapon, this is understood as “armed robbery”.
The offence is considered more serious than simply “robbery”, with harsher penalties to reflect this.
If you are in NSW, the maximum penalty for armed robbery is 20 years in jail, which is made clear in section 97 of the Crimes Act 1900.
Section 97 outlines that of you are armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument, or are in company with another person, and you rob, or assault with intent to rob, any person, or stop any mail, or vehicle, railway train, or person conveying a mail, with intent to rob, or search the same, then you are guilty of an offence.
Furthermore, where the offence is aggravated – if you commit the aforementioned when armed with a dangerous weapon, you can face a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in jail.
Common defences to the charge of armed robbery include upholding your innocence if you did not carry out the act, maintaining you did not have intention to steal the item, arguing you were not in possession of a weapon, self-defence or necessity.
By Sahar Adatia.