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for vaxx sake Long-distance lorry driver who stole £6,000 shipment of Jägermeister gets vaccine lecture from judge

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Marius Vitasas

Marius Vitasas

Marius Vitasas

A long-distance lorry driver who stole a near £6,000 shipment of alcohol was subjected to an vaccine lecture from a judge.

Marius Vitasas was wearing an oxygen mask when he appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court by videolink from his home.

The 37-year-old admitted stealing £5,880 of Jägermeister from Morgan McLernon on September 23, 2019.

However, when she heard that Vitasas has been diagnosed with long Covid and that by “personal choice” he has refused to be vaccinated, District Judge Bernie Kelly heavily criticised the self-confessed thief and labelled his stance as “absolutely disgraceful.”

“It is absolutely disgraceful that you would be that foolish not to want, for your fellow human man, the help of being protected against a life-threatening illness,” declared the judge.

With Vitasas’s son interpreting proceedings, the judge continued: “There’s no such thing as personal choice when what you do can kill another human being - do you understand that?”

When it was confirmed he did, she further asked: “So you are quite happy to kill another human being for personal choice?”

“No,” said the son, but the judge replied: “Oh yes, that’s what you have thought - you are quite happy to kill any other human being that you come across.”

Defence solicitor Richard Monteith tried to intervene and suggested to District Judge Kelly: “I think you do need to maybe focus, Your Worship, honestly, with respect” - but the judge was not to be diverted.

She told the senior solicitor that apart from the element of dishonesty, “he thought he was entitled to help himself to this large volume of alcohol, regardless of who he deprived of it…and obviously part of my decision-making process is to determine what risk he presents in terms of further offending going forward.”

She added: “This offence was in 2019 and there’s been nothing since but then I look at a man who has decided that it’s okay to kill anybody around him with Covid rather than get the vaccine because of personal choice, it’s part and parcel of the same attitude."

Mr Monteith highlighted that those vaccinated can still contract Covid but the judge said there was clear evidence that anyone fully vaccinated was less likely to need hospital treatment.

“This man believes it’s ok for him to have freedom of choice of a bed over cancer patients, transplant patients and, dare I say it, over children’s cancer patients.

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“They’re entitled to a bed before everybody else and that’s 'the but' that I strongly object to.”

Having heard that Vitasas was working for Morgan McLernon at the time, District Judge Kelly said despite the fact he had made full restitution given the breach of trust involved in the theft, a jail sentence was inevitable.

However, she said she would adjourn passing sentence for a full medical report on Vitasas’ prognosis because while he is having oxygen at the minute, “he won’t be on that forever.”

“I will do Maghaberry the honour of not having to deal with someone who foolishly choses not to cover himself,” said the judge, who adjourned the sentence to November 26.

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