Rioter 'poured beer' on police officer

Published Monday, 28 July 2014
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A young Belfast man who poured a tin of beer over a police officer during street disorder which erupted last summer has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Rioter 'poured beer' on police officer
Police dealt with disorder in east Belfast on 12 July last year. (© Presseye)

The case against Mitchell Preston was heard at Belfast Magistrates' Court last October, when sentencing on a charge of riotous behaviour was deferred to determine whether or not he could keep out of trouble during this year's Twelfth of July marching season.

Preston, 20, from Knockwood Crescent, admitted a charge of riotous behaviour on 12 July last year, when he was captured on police CCTV at a scene of serious street disorder in the Lower Newtownards Road area of the city.

During the civil unrest, police lines were attacked by a "large crowd" of loyalists, and Preston was observed picking up a tin of beer and pouring the contents over an officer before throwing the tin at police lines.

A representative from the PPS said that following the incident, images were released to the media of those involved in the incident that the PSNI wished to speak to.

Preston's image was one of these, prompting him to contact police.

The court heard that during interview, Preston viewed the CCTV and "admitted his behaviour was disgusting."

He also apologised for his actions.

Defence solicitor Conor Houston said that Preston, like so many other young men, came before the court on rioting charges yet they had no criminal records, had good prospects and were from stable family backgrounds.

Telling District Judge Fiona Bagnall that Preston had proved he had "kept out of trouble" during this summer's marching season, Mr Houston revealed his client is now working with young people within his local community.

Mrs Bagnall handed Preston a three-month prison sentence, which she suspended for two years.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Supporter in Belfast wrote (49 days ago):
These young guys think the police are mugs to be abused in any way they want, you should grow up, only for them this society would be in turmoil and the gangsters would take over
Marty in Belfast wrote (49 days ago):
When are nationalist politicians going to speak out about the sentences handed down to loyalist rioters , suspended sentences , nationalist rioters 2 years + there is discrimination in the courts , if it in the courts it is going to stay on the streets . I haven't had anything printed on here so it is probably in here as well
D in belfast wrote (50 days ago):
joke...riotous behaviour is a serious offence and deserves a deterrent sentence..anyone else would receive an appropriate sentence why not in this case..im sure the police officer is not too happy about these type of sentences when at the time they often fear for their life and limb and would expect the courts to back them up when it does come to court..otherwise whats the point in pursuing the offender in the first place!
Rod in Carrick wrote (50 days ago):
Slap on the wrist for this thug! Nation service is what these idiots need!
Tony O Grady in Belfast wrote (50 days ago):
Absolute disgrace so much for upholding law and order. I am flabergased he got a suspwnded sentence. Lets try and walk up to a police man and pour a can if beer over his head. Ans see what happens??
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