Four accused of riot appear in court

Four accused of riot appear in court

A man accused in connection with street disorder in Belfast had travelled from Co Armagh to attend a union flag protest, a court has heard.

David Rowe was charged along with another man and two women following a fifth consecutive night of trouble.

The 20-year-old, of Old Mill Manor, Laurelvale, Tandragee, is charged with having an offensive weapon.

On Tuesday Belfast Magistrates' Court was told he came from Portadown to be a spectator at protests on Monday night in the Albertbridge Road area of the city.

It was claimed that he picked up a stone and put it in his pocket before being stopped and arrested.

A police officer claimed a ski mask was also hidden down the front of his trousers.

Rowe's solicitor stressed that he was not charged with rioting which has flared over the decision to restrict the flying of the union flag at Belfast City Hall.

But District Judge Mervyn Bates refused bail after describing the risk of re-offending as "enormous" and Rowe was remanded in custody to appear again next month.

Wayne Mussett, 24, of Heatherbell Street, Belfast also appeared in the dock charged with rioting, resisting police and failing to remove a disguise when asked to do so by police.

Mussett was also remanded in custody to appear again at a later date.

Bail was granted to Catherine Hands, 35, of Frome Street in the city, who faces charges of disorderly behaviour and obstructing police.

A defence lawyer said his client denied allegations that she deliberately obstructed a police officer chasing another suspect during the disorder.

The court heard that Hands had only left her home to look for her 16-year-old son.

Judge Bates agreed to release her bail due to what he said were the exceptional circumstances of her case.

Hands was banned from being within 500 metres of any protests and ordered to comply with a night-time curfew.

A second woman was remanded in custody on charges of assaulting a senior police officer and obstructing police.

The court heard claims that Katherine McConnell, 41, of Downpatrick Street, Belfast, struck out at a PSNI inspector as police were trying to arrest a rioter.

Her solicitor, who said his client denied the allegations, added McConnell was still wearing her pyjamas when she was arrested, having gone out to look for her son.

But Judge Bates again refused bail due to the risk of further offending.

He told her: "The offences you are charged with include the assault of a senior police officer right in the thick of what was going on last night.

"A senior officer, having control over other officers, needs to be able to get on with his duties."

McConnell was remanded to appear again in court next month.


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