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Belfast ban for rioting accused man as he and juvenile appear in court over disturbances

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 08/07/2015

Gary Kirkwood, of Island Street in east Belfast was charged with riotous behaviour at Bryson Street
Gary Kirkwood, of Island Street in east Belfast was charged with riotous behaviour at Bryson Street

A man and a juvenile have appeared in court charged in connection with nightly rioting at an east Belfast interface.

In the dock at Belfast Magistrates Court was Gary Kirkwood, of Island Street in the east of the city, who was charged with riotous behaviour at Bryson Street. The 21-year-old spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges.

A constable told the court she could connect the accused to the charges and said police were objecting to Kirkwood being released on bail.

She told District Judge Fiona Bagnall: "Since June 19 there have been 85 public order incidents in the interface area at Bryson Street.

"However, since the defendant's arrest last night there have been no further incidents. Police would have concerns that he has influence over people in the area if he was released on bail."

The court heard that a PSNI officer who had known Kirkwood for a number of years had identified him on CCTV footage as being present in the area of Bryson Street.

She asked that Kirkwood be remanded in custody as police had concerns that if he resided outside east Belfast, that he would "still be able to travel into the area".

However, a defence solicitor argued no CCTV footage showed his client "throwing any stones".

District Judge Bagnall said she understood the police concerns but said Kirkwood would be freed subject to strict conditions.

He was released on his own bail of £500 to live in Newtownabbey and stay out of Belfast, abide by a 7pm to 7am curfew, not drink alcohol and remain off licensed premises, and sign bail at a police station three times a week.

Meanwhile, a 17-year-old east Belfast youth appeared at the same court charged with riotous behaviour, possession of a petrol bomb, possession of an offensive weapon, namely a stick, and encouraging others to commit a breach of the peace.

The police officer confirmed to the court that the charges related to the same incidents in Bryson Street over the past number of weeks during which police had deployed a large amount of resources into the area because of the ongoing nightly attacks.

The juvenile was freed on his own bail of £100, ordered to live at an address in Dundonald, abide by a 7pm to 7am curfew and not to be in the east Belfast interface area.

District Judge Bagnall also ruled that he could only be in the company of three people if supervised by his mother.

The case was adjourned for four weeks.

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