Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

'Riot ringleader' denied bail over parades tension

A 17-year-old who is alleged to have been the ringleader of riots in the Markets area of south Belfast over the Twelfth of July has been refused bail in the High Court after police claimed community tensions were still high.

A prosecution lawyer also said with more contentious parades due to take place, the PSNI was objecting to the release of the teenager, who can't be identified for legal reasons.

The accused faces a total of seven charges arising from disturbances on July 10 and 12 when PSNI officers were injured and 10 cars were damaged.

The lawyer said that the teenager was identified by police officers at the time and was also captured on CCTV footage throwing petrol bombs, appearing to be the ringleader of the rioting. The accused is also charged with indecent behaviour relating to an incident where he allegedly 'mooned' at police officers.

He is also charged with causing criminal damage at Musgrave Street police station where it is alleged he carved the letters YMH - standing for 'Young Markets Hoods' - into a mattress of a cell.

A defence lawyer said that the accused accepted he was present during the tail end of the disturbances on the Twelfth but he denied charges of rioting and disorderly behaviour.

Mr Justice Hart said there appeared to be a prima facie case and he refused bail. Meanwhile, a man who admitted rioting at the Ardoyne shopfronts in north Belfast on July 12 last year has been refused compassionate bail amid fears that he would not come back to court to face sentencing next week.

Objecting to the bail application by 34-year-old Stephen James Fox, Detective Sergeant Adams told Belfast Crown Court he also feared that if released Fox would reoffend at the last major parade of the marching season.

Fox, from Victoria Parade in Belfast, has pleaded guilty to charges of rioting and also attempting to cause criminal damage to a police vehicle on July 12 last year.

Finally, a 24-year-old man is to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court today charged with a number of offences related to rioting in east Belfast last month.

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