Rioter jailed for slashing PSNI car tyres

Rioter jailed for slashing PSNI car tyres

A 22-year old man, who slashed the tyres of two police Landrovers during a riot in Belfast after consuming a mix of alcohol and drugs, has been handed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Craig Hamilton, from Carnmeen Drive, Rathcoole, will spend half of the sentence in prison with the remaining 15 months spent on supervised licence when he is released from custody.Prosecuting barrister Simon Jenkins told Belfast Crown Court that Hamilton participated in the violent disorder which erupted in the Woodvale area of Belfast on July 12 last year.During the riot, a large crowd pelted police with bricks, fireworks, masonry and petrol bombs, resulting in 20 officers being injured, five of whom were hospitalised.Mr Jenkins said Hamilton was captured on police CCTV being present for around two hours and 20 minutes, during which he was seen throwing six missiles at police lines.He was also seen by police officers using a Stanley Knife to slash the tyres of two police Landrovers.Hamilton has 47 previous convictions including public disorder offences and criminal damage.He was identified the following month and when he was arrested and shown the footage, he said couldn't remember what happened but he apologised to police for his actions.He subsequently pleaded guilty to rioting and to causing criminal damage to the police vehicles.A defence solicitor told Judge Corinne Philpott QC that his client had "no recollection of the incident" as he had been drinking heavily and had taken Ecstasy tablets, but when he was arrested Hamilton "accepted full responsibility" and "showed remorse for his behaviour."When Judge Philpott questioned the possession of the Stanley Knife, which she said was a "particularly vicious and nasty type of knife", the defence solicitor said it was Hamilton's case that he believed someone gave it to him and "pushed him forward".The solicitor also told the Judge that Hamilton "doesn't recall having it at all."The solicitor also revealed that when Hamilton's father found out about his son's involvement in the riot, he sacked him from the home repairs business he ran.Passing sentence, Judge Philpott told Hamilton that despite the amount of alcohol taken, he was "fit and co-ordinated enough" to slash the tyres on the police vehicle.


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