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Man accused of assaulting Belfast McDonald's staff in cheeseburger dispute could face jail

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 The dispute happened in McDonald's in Belfast city centre.

The dispute happened in McDonald's in Belfast city centre.

The dispute happened in McDonald's in Belfast city centre.

A man who assaulted staff at a McDonald's restaurant in a dispute over a cheeseburger could be facing jail, a judge warned on Monday.

Belfast Magistrates' Court was told 40-year-old Gareth Dunleavey struck out after claiming he had not received food ordered at the city centre branch.

Dunleavey, of Montgomery Drive in Lisburn, Co Antrim, pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault and a further charge of attempted criminal damage to a police vehicle.

He became involved in an altercation with an employee in the restaurant on Donegall Place last Friday.

According to the prosecution he argued about an alleged order, shoving the staff member and striking out towards him while making threats.

Others working in the restaurant helped remove Dunleavey from the premises, but he attempted to gain entry again.

As staff held the doors closed he reached through and struck one of them to the side of the face, it was claimed.

Police called to the scene arrested Dunleavey a short distance away.

Defence counsel described his client's behaviour as "abhorrent".

Referring to the alleged background, the lawyer said: "He ordered a cheeseburger and didn't receive it."

In mitigation he set out how Dunleavey has suffered from bereavements in recent times.

Granting bail, District Judge Mark Hamill told the defendant to return to court for sentencing in September.

Dunleavey was barred from Belfast city centre as part of his release conditions.

Mr Hamill warned: "If I'm sentencing him it's highly unlikely he will avoid custody.

"He can't behave like this towards people who are simply trying to do an honest day's work."

Belfast Telegraph