Jail for rioter 'caught twice'

Published Friday, 01 August 2014
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A Belfast man caught rioting twice during loyalist violence last summer has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Jail for rioter 'caught twice'
Riot police pictured during disturbances in Belfast last year. (© Presseye)

However, the judge said the sentence imposed on Gareth Jackson would run concurrent to a 28-month sentence he received in May this year for an earlier riot.

Jackson, 26 and of Ainsworth Avenue in west Belfast, was caught rioting on the Woodvale Road on 12 July, 2013 and received 14 months in custody and further 14 months on licence following his release.

Belfast Crown Court heard that within four weeks of his involvement in the serious trouble which erupted at Twaddell Avenue, Jackson was caught on CCTV throwing a brick at police during loyalist violence on 9 August, 2013.

On that occasion, loyalists blocked an internment rally from marching through Royal Avenue and trouble flared as police tried to move loyalists off the road.

As a result of the trouble, police in riot gear fired plastic baton rounds and water cannon was deployed in an effort to stop the violence which later spread to Carrick Hill and Peter's Hill.

Prosecuting lawyer Philip Henry said that as a result, 58 police officers were injured and a number of arrests were made at the scene.

Judge Paul Ramsey QC was told that Jackson was present for a total of three hours, threw one brick and he was also captured at one stage with two half bricks in his hand.

However, the prosecutor said it wasn't clear from the CCTV footage if he had thrown these missiles at police.

He said Jackson was present with others at the front of a crowd who were throwing bricks and other masonry at police.

Father-of-one Jackson, who has 42 previous convictions including one for riotous behaviour in 2008, had been convicted at Belfast Crown in May this year for rioting on 12 July, 2013 and had received a 28-month sentence split half and half between custody and licence.

A defence solicitor said that Jackson had told police during interview that he had "little recollection" of the events of 9 August, 2013 as he had consumed three litres of cider that day and had gone to Royal Avenue with alcohol in a back pack.

She added that although Jackson had been present for around three hours, the height of his criminal activity was throwing one brick.

Judge Ramsey QC said that Jackson was not due for release until June 2015 when he will spend a further 14 months on licence.

"I will not interfere with that licence period and I will impose a concurrent 12 month sentence," added the Crown Court judge.

© UTV News
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9 Comments
crip in australia wrote (90 days ago):
this guy should get the usual 12 months unless his employer can vouch for him,then just 3months would be plenty to wise him up! community service in the neighbourhood he dislikes would be more constructive for all the summer offenders,would save us lots of money that could be spent on real projects.
John in Newry wrote (90 days ago):
Caught TWICE! What a complete idiot! Once is too much but to be caught and then do it again? Im really not sure that jail time will have any impact on this person....its proper help that he needs.
Paul Baxtet in Dromore wrote (90 days ago):
He basically received no punishment. Good old soft Justice system strikes again.
Disguisting in Belfast wrote (90 days ago):
Concurrent sentence!!
well done judge in bangor wrote (90 days ago):
rioters deserve jail time, it does not matter if loyalist or republican.
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