Father-of-five jailed for rioting

Published Wednesday, 30 April 2014
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A middle aged father-of-five, who threw several missiles at police lines during a riot in north Belfast last July, has been handed a two-year sentence.

Father-of-five jailed for rioting
PSNI officers on the Woodvale Road last July. (© Presseye)

Harold Henry William Ritchie, 52 and from Pomona Avenue in east Belfast, will spend a year of his sentence in prison with the remaining year spent on supervised licence when he is released from custody.

Serious rioting erupted in the Woodvale area of the city on 12 July last year after police blocked a return leg of an Orange Order feeder parade past the the Ardoyne shopfronts following a ruling by the Parades Commission.

Ritchie was captured on CCTV being present at the civil unrest, and as the evening progressed and police came under attack from a hostile crowd, he was seen throwing several missiles at police lines.

Prosecuting barrister Joseph Murphy told Belfast Crown Court that Ritchie was identified from the CCTV footage by a police officer who had previous dealings with him.

Ritchie was arrested and during police interviews, he initially denied it was him in the footage, claiming he had been staying at a caravan in Millisle at the time.

However, he later admitted it was him and pleaded guilty to a charge of rioting.

Defence barrister Taylor Campbell told the court that "alcohol has played a large part" in his client's life and that due to alcohol, Ritchie had a "limited recollection" of his behaviour on 12 July last year.

Mr Campbell said that Ritchie wasn't planning to get into trouble and had "no anti-social intentions", adding his client "would have been better staying away from this area."

After watching CCTV footage, Judge Donna McColgan QC said it was clear Ritchie was "an active participant" but accepted he was present for a short period of time.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ronniebhoy in Derry wrote (212 days ago):
What kind of example does that show to teenagers today, A man of his age should know better
Lorraine in Newry wrote (212 days ago):
His 5 kids must be so proud
Pádraig in Béal Feirste wrote (212 days ago):
He's from east Belfast, but he was just trying to get home to Ligoniel?
jail them all in belfast wrote (212 days ago):
he rioted so he deserves jail time, no excuses.
Belfast in Belfast wrote (212 days ago):
Good teach him a lesson
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