Published Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Riot police deal with disturbances in Ardoyne last July. (© Pacemaker)
Roy Lillis, 25, initially admitted throwing stones and missiles at police at the notorious Ardoyne shop fronts flashpoint during 12 July disorder last year, he later retracted that admission during police questioning.
Lillis, from the Cromwell Road in Belfast, denies a single charge of rioting on a date unknown between 11 to 13 July last year.
He appeared before a Belfast Crown Court jury of six men and six women on Wednesday.
Opening the case against him, prosecuting lawyer David Russell told the jury that for a defendant to be convicted of riot, they had to be satisfied that at least three people acted together in a way that would cause alarm or fear to a "person of reasonable firmness or courage".
Describing how police officers in riot gear came under attack from a mob hurling various missiles as well as numerous petrol bombs until 3am on 13 July, the lawyer suggested to the jury they would have little difficulty about the issue of riot.
The police mounted an operation to gather evidence in anticipation of serious disorder and violence, given events of previous years.
However, Mr Russell said none of the recorded footage captured Lillis throwing anything at police - but did record him being there.
Arrested and interviewed a week later, he admitted to throwing stones at police during rioting in the nearby Oldpark area of north Belfast the day before.
When asked about his role at the Ardoyne shop fronts, Lillis allegedly confessed: "Same thing, only in a different area, Ardoyne.
"Officers asked him if he meant throwing stones and Lillis agreed: "Aye acting the p***k."
However, Mr Russell told the court that later during the same interview, Lillis changed his account, telling officers: "I didn't throw anything at Ardoyne, I wouldn't throw anything up there".
The lawyer declared that in the Crown view, Lillis' initial confession "is sufficient to bring home the charge of riot against him".
The trial continues.