Chinese takeaway ends with three years in jail

Shinner complained there were no vegetables in his sweet and sour pork.

Shinner complained there were no vegetables in his sweet and sour pork. Photo: Getty

A man who threatened the owners of a Chinese takeaway with a loaded gun because he was unhappy with his sweet and sour pork has been jailed.

It was another bitter experience for David Brian Shinner, 61, whose reckless actions in the NSW Hunter region restaurant were met with a Bruce Lee-like flying kick to his chest.

Newcastle District Court Judge Troy Anderson on Friday said Shinner’s decision to carry a loaded gun into the shop had been “extremely dangerous, especially in the emotional state the offender was in”.

Shinner pleaded guilty to using an offensive weapon with intent to intimidate and possessing an unauthorised pistol when he confronted the owners of 28 Chinese Takeaway at Branxton on October 30, 2022.

He was jailed for three years and six months with a minimum of two years and one month.

The judge said Shinner, who had been drinking before he entered the restaurant about 5.30pm and had not taken his medication for mental health issues, told police he was unhappy after ordering a fried rice and sweet and sour pork which was rock-hard and burnt.

“All I got was some pork balls in a paper bag and a sauce in a little cup,” he told police, adding that there weren’t even any vegetables in the dish.

Shinner left the restaurant after the owners refused to replace the meal and went to his nearby motorhome where he stuffed the loaded gun in a bag before returning to the takeaway.

He then withdrew the pistol, put it on the counter and yelled that he wanted a proper sweet and sour pork dish, after making sure no other customers were present.

Judge Anderson said he accepted restaurant owner Danny Yam’s version of events where he claimed Shinner then picked up the gun and pointed it directly at his head.

Shinner had denied ever aiming the gun at Yam or his wife and insisted that he only placed it on the counter to scare them.

Yam said Shinner told him: “If you don’t give me my order, I’ll shoot you.”

Shinner walked into the kitchen area and pointed the gun at Yam’s wife who was putting food in containers.

Yam ran at him and delivered a flying kick to his chest before repeatedly punching him in the head and pinning him to the ground.

Shinner, bleeding heavily, eventually fled the restaurant.

Shinner later told a psychologist he deserved to be punched and tackled to the ground by Yam.

Judge Anderson said Shinner recognised his actions would have “freaked out” the Yams.

“He wishes he had never done something so stupid,” the psychological report said.

Shinner later told police he took the gun to the restaurant only to scare the owners and not kill or rob them because he was angry over the quality of the sweet and sour pork.

“I got a crappy meal,” he said.

“I wanted a decent meal.

“I asked for sweet and sour pork and I got rocks. It was burnt. I mean, the fried rice was alright.

“I paid all that money and got crap.”

Shinner, who has been in custody since his arrest, will be eligible for parole in November when he is looking forward to being reunited with his dog. He is estranged from his two children and grandchildren.

The Chinese takeaway, which had been operating for 30 years, has since closed.


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