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Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band members convicted for playing music at north Belfast interface

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 08/07/2015

The accused was released on bail.
The accused was released on bail.

Five members of a loyalist flute band have been convicted of breaching a number of Parades Commission determinations by playing music at a notorious north Belfast interface.

All five men - who are members of the Pride of Ardoyne Flute Band - were convicted of breaching the determination on several occasions at the Ardoyne/Twaddell Avenue interface between February and May last year.

The men, all of whom are from north Belfast, are 26-year old James Cosby from Glenbryn Road, David Johnsone (23) from Westway Crescent, 38-year old David John Murphy from Berwick Road, 57-year old Robert Hayes Spence from Alliance Avenue and Gary Edwin Wells (24) from Loughview Close.

Following their guilty convictions at Belfast Magistrates Court today, district judge Amanda Henderson told the men they will be sentenced for the breaches next month.

During a previous court hearing, the five defendants were all accused of failing to comply with the conditions imposed by the Parades Commission, which prohibited bands from playing music between the junction of Twaddell Avenue and the Crumlin Road.

All five men made the case that while they didn't deny playing music in the area, they didn't know they were prohibited from doing so. They also made the case that they neither saw the written warnings on the sides of police Landrovers nor heard the verbal warnings that were issues over a loudspeaker.

District Judge Amanda Henderson said that after watching CCTV footage of various incidents at the interface, the signs on the Landrovers were "large" and "clearly worded" on vehicles that were facing the bands, and that the audio warnings via loudspeakers that were issued were "very loud".

Ms Henderson also said that after viewing the footage, she was satisfied all five defendants "must at the very least have been aware from the clear audio vocal warnings that to play music in the prohibited area was in breach" of the determination.

Saying that she was convicting all five men on all the breaches that they faced, Ms Henderson said they would be sentenced for the offences on August 26, 2015.

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