Belfast Telegraph

'Intellectually challenged' man who attacked member of the public outside Belfast's McDonald's avoids prison

By Alan Erwin

An "intellectually challenged" man who attacked a member of the public outside a Belfast city centre fast-food restaurant has avoided prison.

Tony Harkness, 24, received a five-month suspended jail sentence for lashing out at the other man and shouting obscenities at McDonald's on Donegall Place.

Police called to the scene on March 20 after the outburst was picked up on CCTV cameras had to put him in restraints.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard the victim was struck on the face before Harkness was brought to the ground.

Further police resources had to be brought in as he continued shouting and swearing, according to a prosecution lawyer.

Harkness, of Upper Malone Road in Belfast, was convicted of common assault, disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

Defence solicitor Pat Kelly said: "He presents as an individual who is somewhat intellectually challenged."

In mitigation, Mr Kelly argued that his client has now acknowledged his wrongdoing and offered an apology.

Suspending the five-month sentence for 18 months, District Judge Fiona Bagnall commented: "Hopefully the penny is starting to drop."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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