Jail for man who pelted police with 50 items during one-man riot at interface
A 22-year-old man from west Belfast who admitted throwing around 50 missiles including a metal bin at police vehicles parked at an interface has been jailed for his "appalling behaviour".
Belfast Crown Court heard that Sean Martin Hyland, from Violet Street, was essentially the main aggressor during the riot and that the majority of an 100-strong crowd that gathered didn't join in the attack on police, but rather stood back and watched him.
Hyland was handed a sentence of three years and four months and was told 20 months of the sentence will be spent in prison, with the remaining 20 months spent on supervised licence when he is released from jail.
The incident occurred in the early hours of July 12 last year on the Springfield Road, when Hyland was captured on police CCTV pelting police Land Rovers parked at the Lanark Way interface.
Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said these items included bottles, bricks, masonry, a large paving stone and a metal bin.
Telling Judge Brian Sherrard that Hyland was in the area for around an hour, Mr Jenkins said that one of the missiles damaged the CCTV camera which was being used by the PSNI to gather evidence.
The prosecutor described Hyland as "the main instigator of violence on the Springfield Road", adding that during the attack Hyland tried to cover his face.
He was arrested at the scene, and when he was interviewed later that day, he accepted he had thrown items at the police vehicles. When Hyland was shown the footage in custody, he said he felt ashamed of his actions.
Mr Jenkins concluded by saying that while a few of the 100-strong crowd had thrown a couple of missiles "at various times" during the unrest, "it was Mr Hyland who was doing most the rioting himself".
Defence solicitor Paul McCann confirmed this by telling the court the incident amounted to "100 people watching one person".
Revealing that at the time his client was experiencing family difficulties, Mr McCann said Hyland was drunk and took his frustrations and "anger issues" out on police.
The judge told Hyland that he had displayed a "serious use of violence".