Belfast rioter who said sorry to police avoids prison term
A father-of-one who made a face-to-face apology to police for the part he played in a riot in north Belfast was handed a suspended sentence.
Belfast Crown Court heard that after his arrest for rioting in the Woodvale/Twaddell Avenue area of the city last July, Gordon James Catherwood has tried to deter youths from becoming involved in street disorder.
The barman (22), from Glenbryn Parade in Belfast, was captured on police video in a riot on July 13 last. He was observed in the area for around 90 minutes, at which time he threw a total of seven bottles at police lines.
The court heard that police officers were pelted with masonry, petrol bombs, bottles and other missiles.
When Catherwood was arrested, he made a full admission to police and expressed remorse for his actions.
After his arrest, Catherwood met with a number of officers – including police personnel on the ground on the day – and apologised to them. This apology was accepted by the officers.
He also made a public apology at a north Belfast community group.
The court heard that Catherwood has also spent time working with young people from the area, in a bid to deter them from becoming involved in such incidents.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC said: "He has made a mistake but he has to be commended for taking full responsibility for his actions."
Ordering Catherwood to serve a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, the judge told him: "Your future is in your hands – make good use of it."