Belfast Telegraph

Judge raps riot culture as man is sentenced

By Alan Erwin

A judge has warned against any attempt to minimise the "huge" damage inflicted on Northern Ireland's reputation by last summer's rioting.

As she imposed a six-month suspended jail sentence on one of those involved, Fiona Bagnall stressed the impact should not be diminished by the passage of time.

Seventy-one police officers were injured when violence erupted in Belfast after Orangemen were banned from passing Ardoyne on the return leg of their Twelfth of July parade.

Since then scores of troublemakers have been identified, charged and brought before the courts. One of them, 28-year-old James McCurry, admitted an offence of riotous behaviour on the Woodvale Road on July 12.

During a sentencing hearing at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday it was disclosed the defendant has mild learning difficulties.

The judge acknowledged McCurry's personal situation and lack of previous involvement in rioting.

She said: "I'm going to impose six months custody, which I will suspend for two years."

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