Belfast Telegraph

You are a disgrace, judge tells four loyalist parade yobs

BY ASHLEIGH McDONALD

Four people involved in an incident which occurred as a band parade walked past a Catholic church in Belfast have been branded a "disgrace" by one of Belfast's top judges.

Judge Corinne Philpott QC spoke of "anti-social behaviour bubbling under the surface" and praised the actions of the police on the day in question for "quickly quelling" the situation.

Crown prosecutor Gavin Purvis told Belfast Crown Court that trouble flared on Belfast's Donegall Street on August 25, 2012 when a band parade made its way past St Patrick's Church.

A Scottish man – who has already been dealt with in Belfast Magistrates Court – approached a group of nationalists who were protesting about the parade and walked into their banner, which read 'Respect Our Community'.

Mr Purvis said that when the nationalist protesters reacted, a group of band supporters who were standing on the other side of the road "surged forward", resulting in a brief period of affray which lasted up to seven seconds.

Three people from Belfast who took part in that affray were Jonathan Charles Bustard (31), from Matchett Street; 37-year old community worker Alison Simpson, from Disraeli Street, and Robert Smith (37), from Ashmore Place. They all pleaded guilty to a single charge of affray.

A fourth man, 30-year-old Glen Baker, from Inverwood Gardens in the city, was also present. The court heard that when riot police were calming the situation, he threw a traffic cone at police lines which hit a female officer. Baker subsequently pleaded guilty to assaulting the officer occasioning actual bodily harm.

Passing sentence, Judge Philpott said she accepted they were not the instigatiors and had acted spontaneously, but told them: "The four of you are a disgrace."

She added: "You are fortunate, all of you, that more trouble didn't occur."

Bustard and Simpson were each ordered to serve 160 hours community service, while Baker was ordered to serve 240 hours community service.

Smith was handed a one-year prison sentence, which was suspended for a period of two years.

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