Accused attacked police with stolen baton, court told
A man accused of rioting attacked police with one of their own batons during Twelfth violence in Belfast, a court heard.
William Rodgers is accused of stealing the weapon from officers deployed to enforce a ban on the Orange Order parading through the Ardoyne area.
The 36-year-old, of Glencairn Way, Belfast, was among three people brought before the city's Magistrates Court in connection with the ongoing trouble.
He faced charges of riotous assembly, theft of a PSNI baton, possessing an offensive weapon with intent to commit grievous bodily harm and attempted criminal damage of a PSNI Land Rover.
Dressed in a Glasgow Rangers football shirt, Rodgers nodded when the offences were put to him.
It was claimed he was among the "most prolific" offenders at Woodvale Road stand-off.
Opposing bail, a police officer said CCTV footage showed Rodgers attacking police lines.
He told the court: "The defendant is also seen striking police with a baton taken from riot police, standing on a police Land Rover and attempting to break the wing mirrors."
Rodgers admitted being the person on the footage but claimed he couldn't remember anything.
Defence barrister Mark Farrell said his client was not a riot organiser, but District Judge Alan White refused bail and remanded him in custody until next month.
He told Rodgers: "There's clearly strong evidence against you which is likely to lead to a lengthy custodial sentence."
Meanwhile, the court heard how another man was spotted tying a mask to a troublemaker.
Andrew McVeigh (22), of Woodvale Avenue, Belfast, was charged with encouraging or assisting a riot on July 13, thereby breaching his bail conditions by being at a protest.
His lawyer claimed McVeigh could lose his job with Parcel Force if refused bail, but Judge White rejected the application and remanded him in custody until August 13.
A third accused, Andrew Mercer (29), of Victoria Street, Belfast, was charged with riotous assembly and criminal damage to a police Land Rover wing mirror.
He was also remanded in custody for four weeks.