Belfast Telegraph

Belfast riot duo's sentences too lenient, court rules

Suspended jail sentences imposed on two men for rioting during Union flag protests in Belfast were unduly lenient, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Robert McKeown and Stephen Ferris were each handed new 18-month-terms, half of which will be spent behind bars.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said deterrent sentences were required for those involved in mob violence.

The court refused to interfere with the suspended term imposed on another rioter, Edward Lynn, a former soldier.

All three were convicted for their roles in separate outbreaks of public disorder surrounding the decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

DPP Barra McGrory appealed the sentences.

He argued that all three men should receive tougher and more deterrent punishment.

Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justice Coghlin and Mr Justice Horner, said: "Such persistent criminal conduct spread as it is across our community inevitably requires a deterrent sentencing framework."

Belfast Telegraph

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