'Ongoing concerns' over internment march

Published Friday, 01 August 2014
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A Crown barrister has spoken of "real and ongoing concerns with regard to public order" in Belfast ahead of next weekend's internment march, during a bail application held in the High Court on Friday.

'Ongoing concerns' over internment march
Police came under attack in the early hours of 12 July. (© PSNI)

The concerns were expressed during an application held on behalf of 35-year-old Michael McDonnell, who is currently in custody accused of pelting a police vehicle with missiles close to an interface in the north of the city during the early hours of 12 July.

The court heard McDonnell, from Wyndham Street, was one of three men arrested by police after a Landrover was attacked twice in the Oldpark area of Belfast.

He was subsequently arrested for riotous behaviour and attempted criminal damage - charges which his barrister said he denies.

Prosecutor Fiona O'Kane said that late on the evening of 11 July and into the early hours of 12 July, police were patrolling in and around a north Belfast interface ahead of the annual 12th parade due to "heightened sectarian tensions."

At around 1.30am on 12 July, police were at the Oldpark Road/Rosapenna junction when they observed three males with items in their hands.

The trio then attacked the PSNI Landrover with stones and bottles before fleeing up a nearby alleyway.

They then emerged from the alleyway and pelted the Landrover for a second time before running away.

McDonnell and two other men were later subsequently arrested, with one officer identifying him as being involved. It emerged that the alleged offences were committed whilst McDonnell was on probation.

When he was arrested, McDonnell denied the charges and accused the police of lying.

He said he had drunk two ten-packs of beer and a quarter bottle of vodka, but denied committing the offences he was arrested for.

Objecting to bail, Mrs O'Kane said: "There is an internment march taking place next week and there are still real and on-going concerns with regard to public order in that area at this time of year."

A defence barrister told Mr Justice Horner: "This is a man who has extreme difficulties with alcohol and he had been addressing those issues when he was arrested for these offences."

Asking that her client be released on bail to live with his parents in the local area, the barrister said McDonnell would abide by any conditions, "particularly when the (internment) parade is scheduled."

Mr Justice Horner said he was minded to grant bail, under strict conditions, if there was a "positive" probation report.

The Judge added that he would review the case again next Monday, when a probation report will be made available.

© UTV News
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