Bike racer Nico Mawhinney assaulted police during flag row
A motorbike racer was on his way home from a family funeral when he was knocked out during a confrontation with people he believed were attempting to steal a Union flag, a court has heard.
Former Irish Superbike champion Nico Mawhinney (23), a joiner from Leitrim Road, Castledawson, become embroiled in trouble at 12.40am on September 27 last year at Moyola Bridge in the town. When he came round he assaulted police, Magherafelt Magistrates Court was told.
A prosecutor said police had received a report of a disturbance and a large group was present on the street.
She said Mawhinney told police he believed the group were Catholics trying to remove a Union flag and when he stopped to help a male in distress, he was assaulted.
When he came round, according to the prosecutor, he became aggressive, lashing out at police and making reference to Brian Shivers from Magherafelt, who had convictions for murdering two soldiers quashed and was later acquitted in a retrial.
The prosecutor said Mawhinney told police: "You did f*** all with Brian Shivers and you will do f*** all for us".
The defendant admitted two charges of assaulting and resisting police and disorderly behaviour and was fined £350.
During a police interview Mawhinney said he had been drinking earlier and had been assaulted by a group of youths.
The prosecutor said Mawhinney's father Geoff (54), who was also present on the night in question, had previously been given a conditional discharge for disorderly behaviour during the incident.
Fining the defendant, District Judge Alan White said it was very unfortunate that Mawhinney had been assaulted first but he suspected alcohol played a role in his reaction thereafter.