South Scotland

Dumfries restaurateur sex harassment case continued

The case of an operator of an award-winning Dumfries restaurant, who is accused of sexual harassment and assaulting his staff, has been continued.

Robert McAleese, 38, is standing trial at Dumfries Sheriff Court

He denies six charges which date from between November 2011 and July last year at the Little Italy restaurant.

The trial has been told that former waitresses had been "shocked and disgusted" at some of the remarks made.

However, it also heard one witness had been sacked twice and had sent a message pleading to get her job back.

During three days of the trial, Dumfries Sheriff Court heard from four former waitresses that they felt the "banter" used by Mr McAleese was not appropriate.

The final witness for the prosecution admitted in cross-examination that she had been taken on at the restaurant three times before finally leaving because she did not want to work with Mr McAleese any more.

A copy of text messages between her and McAleese were read to the court, which showed that she had on several occasions made excuses for not being able to attend work or for being late.

After being sacked twice, she sent a text pleading to get her job back.

In the message, she said she loved her job and loved working with the staff at the restaurant. She was allowed to resume work, but left a few weeks later.

The case was continued to a date which has yet to be fixed.

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