Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Man jailed for attacking police with bottles amid Twelfth rioting in Belfast

The scene at Woodvale in north Belfast on the Twelfth this year
The scene at Woodvale in north Belfast on the Twelfth this year

A man who attacked police with bottles after being blasted by a water canon during rioting in Belfast was jailed for three months today.

James Dean Vance was identified on CCTV footage of Twelfth of July disorder in the north of the city.

The 32-year-old, of Dewey Street, Belfast, pleaded guilty to a single charge of riotous behaviour.

Vance was part of a crowd gathered in the Woodvale Road area amid tensions over a banned Orange Order parade in the area.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was observed getting increasingly drunk during the trouble.

At one stage he was knocked over by water canon deployed to deal with the situation but remained at the scene.

Vance then threw two bottles at police lines, according to the prosecution.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey argued that despite being there for several hours this was his only involvement in the riot.

The barrister claimed his client started off trying to stop others attacking police before alcohol took hold.

"He made the case that he was hit by water canon and his phone was broke. He then got involved as a result," Mr McConkey told the court.

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall held that Vance's behaviour amounts to serious street disorder.

Imposing a three month jail sentence, she said: "I accept he was part of the crowd for a long period of time but only became violent at a late stage.

"However, when anybody starts to throw items in this context at police it takes it past the custody threshold."

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