A shopper broke a supermarket's Covid-19 rules then smacked a staff member with a bunch of bananas, a court has heard.

Leshana Donaldson appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to assault.

On March 25, the nationwide alert level 4 was in place in a bid to contain the spread of the virus and to reinforce that, supermarkets permitted only "one person per bubble" to enter at a time.

The 25-year-old went to Pak'nSave with her partner and was informed only one of them was allowed in.

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She told the security officer she would go back to her car but as soon as their back was turned she ran inside.

Donaldson grabbed an assortment of items and began scanning them through the self-service checkout.

She was approached by a supervisor and again reminded about the Covid-19 restrictions.

"Donaldson would not listen and continued to scan her items," court documents said.

The supervisor refused to sell her the goods.

Without warning, Donaldson turned and whacked the woman in the face with a bunch of bananas.

She then yelled at her rudely.

The defendant left the store but was later arrested.

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The court heard the victim was left with a red and throbbing cheek for half an hour as a result of the attack.

Initially, counsel Andy Belcher argued his client should be granted a discharge without conviction.

For that to be granted, a judge has to rule the consequences of a conviction would outweigh the gravity of the offending in the circumstances.

Judge Dominic Flatley, though, pointed to two assaults Donaldson had committed in 2016, for which she had been sentenced to community work.

He asked how a third violence conviction would change the woman's future prospects.

After a brief adjournment, Belcher confirmed the application would be abandoned.

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Donaldson, he said, had a "pretty sad and tragic history" and urged the court to impose a rehabilitative sentence.

Flatley agreed, but said there also needed to be a punitive aspect.

"That victim was simply following instructions and doing her job at a very difficult time.

"This sort of behaviour is simply unacceptable."

Donaldson was sentenced to 12 months' intensive supervision and 100 hours' community work.