Belfast Telegraph

School groundsman jailed for rioting

By Ashleigh McDonald

A school groundskeeper who threw three items at police lines after a peaceful loyalist protest descended into a riot is starting a 12-month sentence.

William Black (28), from Syerla Road, Dungannon, will spend six months in jail and six on licence after he admitted a single charge of rioting.

Belfast Crown Court heard Black, a groundskeeper for schools on both sides of the religious divide, took part in a protest last August 9.

Disorder erupted after loyalists demonstrated against an anti-interment parade walking through Belfast city centre.

A Crown prosecutor said Black was captured on PSNI CCTV in the crowd of protesters at Royal Avenue, where he was seen throwing three items at police lines. Judge Corinne Philpott said the PSNI had been trying to "keep both sides apart", but after coming under attack, a total of 56 officers were injured as a result of "extensive public disorder."

She told Black that given he worked with people from a different religion on a daily basis, she found it "difficult to fathom" why he became involved in the riot.

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