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Bangor Protestant Boys flute band members fined for breaching St Patrick's music ban

The quartet apologised for their actions.

By Alan Erwin

Published 02/11/2016

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police had erected large signs to warn bands of restrictions imposed on that section of the route.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police had erected large signs to warn bands of restrictions imposed on that section of the route.

Four members of a flute band were each fined £250 for knowingly breaching a ban playing tunes outside a Catholic church in Belfast.

A judge was told Bangor Protestant Boys had defied the restriction in a conscious act of protest against the Parades Commission.

The body had ruled that only a single drum beat could be played as bands passed St Patrick's Chapel on Donegall Street during an Apprentice Boys demonstration in August last year.

The church has become a flashpoint for parading controversies in recent years.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police had erected large signs to warn bands of restrictions imposed on that section of the route.

Prosecutor John O'Neill said the band marched into the restricted area on the return leg and played a hymn tune in breach of the determination as it passed the chapel.

The incident occurred just before evening mass was due to start.

Mr O'Neill disclosed that the band later published a statement online saying it had taken a conscious decision to breach the determination in an act of peaceful protest.

It also called on other bands to take a stand against Parades Commission rulings.

Four members of Bangor Protestant Boys were prosecuted after being identified as playing the tune.

They are: Ryan Campbell, 22, of Ganaway Walk; Corey McNabb, 20, from Birch Drive; Hugh Mills, 51, of Abbots Walk; and Craig Winters, 24, from Cranley Avenue - all in Bangor.

All four admitted a charge of knowingly failing to comply with a condition imposed by the Parades Commission.

Defence lawyers said their clients wished to apologise for their actions.

Imposing a £250 fine on each defendant, Dstrict Judge Ken Nixon gave them six months to pay the penalty.

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