Belfast Telegraph

No bail for PSNI kill bid accused

Orangeman attacked officers with a ceremonial sword, court is told

BY ALAN ERWIN

AN Orangeman accused of trying to kill a police officer with a ceremonial sword during Twelfth of July disorder must remain in custody, said a High Court judge.

Mark Blaney was refused bail amid continuing tensions in north Belfast, where the alleged attack was carried out.

The 30-year-old, of Alliance Close in the city, is charged with attempting to murder a PSNI officer, possession of an offensive weapon and riotous behaviour in the Woodvale Road area.

He was arrested by police investigating serious violence surrounding the ban on an Orange Order parade through the nationalist Ardoyne district.

Police came under sustained attack as they enforced the marching prohibition on July 12.

Photographs of the incident allegedly depict Blaney wearing a sash and wielding the sword.

He has emphatically denied intending to harm or kill anyone.

A prosecution barrister opposed bail due to the risk of reoffending.

Mr Justice Stephens was told police believe tensions remain high in the area, with ongoing protests at Twaddell Avenue.

Up to 5,000 loyalists are expected in the area on Saturday in a march from Belfast city centre.

In a separate case, a man who blocked motorists during marching season tensions has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Andrew McCann behaved threateningly as he stopped cars during a protest in east Belfast.

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

McCann was arrested following an incident in the Albertbridge Road area on July 14. Protesters had blocked both lanes of the traffic.

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.

McCann claimed not to have heard any warnings due to hearing problems.

A defence lawyer said he had been drunk at the time, 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 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.

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