Belfast Telegraph

Duo jailed for rioting during Twelfth disorder

A man has been jailed for throwing a bottle in retaliation after his son was injured during disorder at a sectarian interface.

William Ferguson was one of two men handed two-month prison sentences for their involvement in Twelfth of July trouble in east Belfast.

The 44-year-old, of Carnamena Gardens, pleaded guilty to riotous behaviour.

He was arrested after being identified on evidence gathering footage of disturbances on the Lower Newtownards Road.

Violence flared over disputed Parades Commission restrictions on an Orange Order march.

Ferguson was seen throwing a bottle in the direction of the interface at St Matthew's Catholic Church, Belfast Magistrates Court heard.

He told police he reacted in anger at his son being struck and injured by missiles coming from the Short Strand district.

A defence lawyer said Ferguson left before serious rioting broke out.

He argued that the defendant had overreacted after being provoked by what happened to his son.

"He threw one bottle. As soon as he had he went looking for his son who had been taken to a nearby church where people cleaned him up," the solicitor added.

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall pointed to a record of the incident where Ferguson was described as "baiting" Short Strand residents and shouting at police.

Imposing the two-month jail term, she said: "I cannot accept people find themselves in these situation in this community naively.

Earlier she imposed the same two-month prison sentence on 23-year-old Thomas Rea, of Melfort Drive, Belfast.

Rea admitted two charges of riotous behaviour and criminal damage over his role in disorder on the Newtownards Road.

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