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Policewoman punched and kicked to the ground during Easter Rising commemorations trouble in Lurgan, court hears

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/04/2016

A policewoman was punched and kicked to the ground during trouble surrounding Easter Rising commemorations, the High Court heard today.

Prosecutors said she suffered a cracked rib after being attacked in Lurgan, Co Armagh last month.

Details emerged as a 21-year-old man accused of targeting her mounted an application for bail.

Kieran Lavery, of Meadowbrook in Craigavon, denies charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to the officer, affray and possession of an offensive weapon - namely a stone.

He claims to have only been watching events with a fast food takeaway.

Police were attacked with missiles as violence flared at Levin Road in the Kilwilkie estate on Easter Monday, March 28.

A prosecution barrister said three investigating officers who viewed CCTV footage separately identified Lavery as being involved in sustained public disorder for up to three minutes.

"The applicant was seen attacking a police Land Rover by throwing an object and was one of those seen punching and kicking a police officer to the ground," he claimed.

The policewoman also sustained bruising to her hip and leg and remains on sick leave, the court heard.

Questioned about what triggered the disturbances, the barrister replied: "My instructions are that there had been a riot to celebrate the Easter Rising on the Sunday, a youth had been arrested for petrol bombing and there was a knock-on on the Monday."

Lavery refused to speak during police interviews, remaining silent even when asked to confirm his name, the court heard.

Defence counsel questioned the quality of CCTV footage and contended that it was a case of mistaken identity.

The barrister said Lavery accepted being at the scene but was innocently there with a female friend prepared to provide an alibi.

"They were driving around in a car and had been to McDonald's, got to this location, stopped their car and were eating their takeaway," he told the court.

"He (Lavery) got out to continue to watch what was going on, he wasn't involved in any of the skirmishes."

Following submissions Mr Justice Burgess adjourned the bail application to obtain further personal information on the accused.

Referring to woman said to be willing to give an alibi statement to police, the judge added: "The intervening period should allow that step to be taken if the lady wishes to do that."

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