South Scotland

Little Italy restaurateur denies sex assault in Dumfries

The operator of an award winning Dumfries restaurant has denied sexually assaulting four former waitresses .

Robert McAleese, 38, who runs Little Italy, told Dumfries Sheriff Court that he enjoyed banter and jokes with his staff.

He said he did not try to put his hand up the skirt of a waitress he met in a nightclub. Instead he put his hand to her waist to hear what she was saying.

Little Italy has been named Best Italian Restaurant in Scotland.

McAleese, of Cairn Court, Dumfries, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of sexually assaulting former waitresses.

He has also denied making sexual comments to one of them at the restaurant. The allegations date from between November 2011 and July 2013.

The trial continues.

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