Court hears Downpatrick man (24) got involved in 'chip-throwing barney' with young boys in KFC and then damaged their bikes

Court hears Downpatrick man (24) got involved in 'chip-throwing barney' with young boys in KFC and then damaged their bikes

A 24-YEAR-OLD Downpatrick man who got involved in a "barney" in a KFC restaurant which involved 'throwing chips' at young boys before he damaged their bicycles has been branded as "childish" by a judge.

Arising out of the incident at the unnamed KFC, Steven McGhee, of The Paddock, admitted two charges of assault and two charges of damaging bicycles belonging to the boys who, Newtownards Magistrates Court heard, were aged around eleven or twelve years old.

District Judge Mark Hamill said he knew the facts regarding the incident on March 9, 2020, as he had read the case papers and said it involved "a barney in the KFC" in which those involved started "throwing chips at each other".

A defence lawyer said they were "unusual circumstances" and claimed McGhee had "reacted" to "initial difficulties" at the restaurant.

He said there were "no real injuries" to the boys but accepted bicycles were damaged.

The defendant appeared at court via a video link from custody after an arrest warrant had been issued earlier when the case had been listed as a contest and he failed to attend.

He has now entered guilty pleas to the charges.

The court heard the defendant works on wind farms in Scotland.

Judge Hamill said: "I could some up this case and that word would be childish. He got involved in a barney with children in KFC.

"I am sure these children didn't behave particularly well either. There were chips thrown in both directions. It is pathetic, it is so childish and then he decides to grab two bikes and damage the bikes. Then the children throw yoghurt at his car.

"It is summed up in one word - childish. You cannot descend to this level".

McGhee was fined £400 and bound over to keep the peace for two years in the sum of £500.

The judge said that meant a further £500 would have to be paid "if he decides to behave like this again in the next two years".