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Shopkeeper cleared of assaulting boy in Staplehurst in argument over energy drinks

A shopkeeper’s 10 months of “hell” has ended after he was cleared of attacking a 12-year-old boy during an argument over energy drinks.

Rajendra Parekh had been accused of trying to hit the secondary school pupil and digging his nails into his neck during the afternoon altercation on October 13.

He was acquitted following a trial at Medway Magistrates’ Court.

Rajendra Parekh of Station News in Staplehurst. Picture: Matthew Walker
Rajendra Parekh of Station News in Staplehurst. Picture: Matthew Walker

The 59-year-old revealed he found it difficult to eat while police investigated the alleged assault and welled up as he was told he was free to leave the court.

Mr Parekh banned the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 18 at his shop Station Newsagents, in Station Road, Staplehurst, which annoyed some of his young customers.

The complainant, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, told the court he had placed a can of Monster energy drink on the floor inside the shop as he was losing his balance.

However, Mr Parekh, told magistrates he felt he was intimidated by the boy and his five friends when he grabbed him around the collar to remove him from his shop and told him to pick up the can.

He said: “I don’t sell energy drinks to children. They can cause heart attacks and diabetes. I have diabetes and I don’t want anyone else to have it.

Rajendra Parekh refuses to sell energy drinks to under 18s
Rajendra Parekh refuses to sell energy drinks to under 18s

“I have explained to this boy before that his kidneys are going to be bad if he drinks energy drinks. His response was that he doesn’t have kidneys.

“I felt threatened. He was drinking a monster energy drink and that made him hyper. He left the drink inside the shop in the doorway. I think he did it to wind me up.

“I felt threatened and thought something was going to happen to me.

“I grabbed him and said to him to pick up the rubbish. There was nothing else at that point.

“I told them for three or four weeks before this incident that I did not sell energy drinks to children. There was no physical contact whatsoever.”

Following 30 minutes of deliberations, magistrates cleared Mr Parekh, who has owned Station Newsagents since 2007, of one single charge of assault by beating.

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