Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Woman who threw bottle and mooned at police in Twelfth riot spared jail

A woman escaped jail today for throwing a bottle and mooning at police during rioting in north Belfast
A woman escaped jail today for throwing a bottle and mooning at police during rioting in north Belfast

A woman escaped jail today for throwing a bottle and mooning at police during rioting in north Belfast.

Sharon Donley was handed a two month prison term, suspended for two years, for her drink-fuelled antics on July 12.

Imposing the sentence, a judge told her she was one of those whose involvement in street disorder was costing millions of pounds.

Donley, 26, of Upper Townsend Terrace, Belfast, pleaded guilty to offence of riotous and indecent behaviour.

She was part of a large crowd gathered on the Woodvale Road after an Orange Order parade was stopped from going past the nationalist Ardoyne district.

Donley was seen drinking from a large cider bottle before throwing it at police lines.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard she then pulled down her trousers and exposed her bum to officers.

She later accepted it was her in the CCTV footage but had no memory of events because she had been drinking from the day before.

A defence lawyer told the court Donley's behaviour was "reprehensible" but stressed that only one plastic bottle was thrown, without even reaching police.

"It's clear from the CCTV she has difficulty standing, never mind performing the two functions she attempted."

District Judge  John Meehan held that the offences passed the custody threshold.

He told her: "Ms Donley, you are one of those who is costing this community millions of pounds in reference to frankly riotous behaviour.

"This is not a matter of freedom of speech and this is not a matter of peaceful protest.

"This is a matter of violent disorder and the community is entitled to be protected from that."

However, the judge also pointed to the "pathetic" circumstances of her alcohol dependency.

And acknowledging she had shown no politicised attitude, he imposed a suspended two month prison term.

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