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Man accused of 'terrifying' shop staff in dressing gown row bailed for christening

By Alan Erwin

Published 18/08/2016

Gary Byrne was granted temporary High Court bail to attend the service for his baby nephew at a church in Belfast on Sunday
Gary Byrne was granted temporary High Court bail to attend the service for his baby nephew at a church in Belfast on Sunday

A customer accused of locking staff into a printing shop and threatening to burn it down in a dispute over a dressing gown is to be allowed out of prison for a family christening.

Gary Byrne was granted temporary High Court bail to attend the service for his baby nephew at a church in Belfast on Sunday.

With the 29-year-old set to be the child's godfather, Madam Justice McBride told him: "Hopefully you will understand the importance of whatever vows you take to set a good example to him."

Byrne, of Hawtree Park in Lisburn, Co Antrim, allegedly left employees at the shop in Belfast city centre terrified. He is also accused of attacking up to four police officers after they were called to the scene on June 7.

Byrne faces charges of false imprisonment, threats to kill and threats to damage property, disorderly behaviour, assaults on police and criminal damage to a PSNI cell smeared in excrement.

During a bail application it was claimed he went into Dstar Printing Boutique on Castle Street demanding to speak to the manager.

A judge was told previously that he shouted: "You wrecked my newborn baby's house coat."

Prosecution counsel alleged Byrne continued to scream and rant incomprehensibly before going behind the counter and declaring: "Right, this shop is f****** shut." The premises were locked for a period with three members of staff inside, the court heard.

Seeking compassionate bail for his client, defence counsel Michael Boyd argued that any threats or "unpleasant behaviour" did not result in serious violence.

Mr Boyd added: "He suffers from a personality disorder that seems to manifest itself in conflict situations where he's challenged by someone in authority."

Granting the temporary release from custody, the judge ordered him to return to prison immediately after the church service.

Byrne, who appeared via prison video-link, replied: "Much obliged, my lady."

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