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'Mooning Belfast rioter' identified on social media

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/08/2015

Riot police form a protective line as protesters gather ahead of the Twelfth parade at Woodvale Road, north Belfast, on Monday, 13 July.
Riot police form a protective line as protesters gather ahead of the Twelfth parade at Woodvale Road, north Belfast, on Monday, 13 July.

An alleged teenage rioter who mooned at police during disorder in north Belfast was identified through social media, a court heard today.

Michael Morrison, 18, is accused of attacking PSNI officers with bottles and masonry amid violence surrounding a controversial Orange Order parade last month.

A judge was also told that when eventually arrested he claimed to have drank 18 beers along with bottles of Jagermeister and Aftershock the night before.

Morrison, of Highfield Drive in Belfast, faces charges of riotous assembly, indecent behaviour and possession of cannabis.

He was granted bail but banned from entering the Woodvale Road or Twaddell Avenue, where trouble flared on July 13.

A total of 24 police officers were injured in attacks as they enforced a Parades Commission prohibition on Orangemen passing a stretch of the Crumlin Road.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard a trawl through social media led to Morrison being picked out as one of those involved in the street disorder.

A PSNI constable claimed he was seen throwing 16 items at police lines while trying to conceal his identity.

She added: "He was encouraging others and attempting to incite police, he pulled down his jeans and bared his backside at police lines."

Morrison's home was searched on August 13, with clothing he is suspected of wearing during rioting seized.

At that stage he was arrested and admitted to the huge consumption of alcohol the previous evening, the court heard.

He was also said to have spoken of using cannabis on a daily basis.

Opposing bail, the constable stressed tensions remain high in north Belfast, with further marches still to come.

During cross-examination she accepted Morrison made full admissions and expressed remorse for his actions.

Granting bail, the judge prohibited him from going within 500 metres of any parade, protest or demonstration.

She also imposed a night-time curfew and alcohol ban.

Morrison is due to appear back in court in four weeks' time.

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