Belfast Telegraph

Man held in custody accused of trying to kill police officer with sword

A man was remanded in custody today accused of trying to kill a police officer with a ceremonial sword during Twelfth of July disorder in north Belfast.

Mark Blaney is alleged to have been a "committed" participant in violence which flared in the Woodvale area of the city.

The 30-year-old, of Alliance Close, Belfast, appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of a PSNI officer.

He is further accused of riotous behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon, namely a ceremonial sword, with intent to commit attempted murder.

Blaney was arrested on Wednesday by police investigating the trouble surrounding a ban on an Orange Order parade through the nationalist Ardoyne district.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard text messages were sent out giving a meeting place for swords and flags to be handed out.

Opposing Blaney's application for bail, a PSNI constable claimed he showed a commitment to attacking police in a bid to breach the parading determination.

It was alleged that he had the sword for around an hour and remained at the scene after disposing of it.

With further marches due to take place in the area, the constable added that tensions remain high.

The court heard Blaney apologised after being charged, telling police: "I didn't intend any harm or to kill anybody."

His lawyer stressed that the text messages referred to meetings within the Orange Lodge, rather than any arrangement to pick up potential weapons.

But District Judge Fiona Bagnall replied: "You can't do anything but put a more sinister interpretation on what was happening."

She refused bail due to the potential for re-offending during the rest of the parading season.

Remanding Blaney in custody to appear again on September 5, Judge Bagnall said she would consider a change of circumstances if tensions diminish.

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