Belfast Telegraph

Man who blocked drivers during marching season tensions given suspended sentence

A man who blocked motorists during marching season tensions in Belfast was given a suspended jail sentence today.

Andrew McCann behaved threateningly as he stopped cars during a protest in the east of the city, prosecutors said.

The 25-year-old, of Madrid Street, Belfast, admitted charges of obstructing traffic, disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall told him: "The impact on the community and society of these type of offences cannot be overstated."

McCann was arrested following an incident in the Albertbridge Road area on July 14.

Protesters had blocked both lanes of traffic amid ongoing tensions surrounding marching determinations.

A prosecution lawyer said McCann was seen stopping motorists and using threatening behaviour.

He was warned by police but shouted obscenities at them and refused to move, Belfast Magistrates' Court heard.

After being arrested he said he could not fully remember his actions.

McCann claimed, however, not to have heard any warnings due to hearing problems

A defence lawyer said he had been drunk at the time, also stressing there were no allegations of any riotous behaviour.

Judge Bagnall ruled out a community service-type sentence because of the type of public disorder.

She instead imposed three months imprisonment for obstructing traffic and two months for disorderly behaviour and resisting police.

Each of the sentences were suspended for 18 months.

The judge warned: "If he steps out of line he's in custody."

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