Belfast Telegraph

Flag protest riot sentences too lenient, Appeal Court is told

Suspended jail sentences imposed on three men for rioting during Union flag protests in Belfast were unduly lenient, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, argued that the trio should receive tougher and more deterrent punishment for their involvement.

He said: "In each of these three occasions there was sustained and ferocious violence perpetrated against the police, either in the city centre, commercial or residential areas where no one in those areas innocently or through necessity could have been in anything other than serious fear of what was going on around them."

Robert McKeown, Edward Lynn and Stephen Ferris were all convicted earlier this year for their roles in separate outbreaks of public disorder surrounding the decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

McKeown (27), of Whincroft Road, Belfast, received an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for three years.

Lynn (22), from Fenaghy Park, Galgorm, Ballymena, was handed a 15-month suspended term.

Ferris (19), of Matilda Gardens, Belfast, was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years.

With further submissions to be made by the defence, the case was adjourned until Monday.

Belfast Telegraph

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