A jury took just 10 minutes to unanimously acquit a man of attacking police during disturbances at the Ardoyne shopfronts on July 12 last year.
During the day long hearing, the Belfast Crown Court jury of six men and six women heard that although police had put in place a massive evidence gathering operation, none of the footage had captured 25-year-old Roy Lillis doing anything wrong other than being present at the scene.
Giving evidence to the court, district commander for the area, Chief Superintendant Mark Hamilton, said he was “confident” his officers had recorded all those who had attacked police but had only captured Lillis's presence, nothing else relating to him.
The jury also heard that Lillis, from Cromwell Road in Belfast, had already admitted to a charge of rioting 24 hours earlier on July 11 when a mob attacked police at the Oldpark Road and that although he initially admitted to doing “the same thing” at Ardoyne, he later retracted that alleged confession during interview.
Before the trial began four other men all pleaded guilty to a charge of riot and a fifth man to a charge of encouraging a riot, all on July 12, and all five were released on bail pending the completion of pre-sentence probation reports before sentence.