Published Thursday, 20 March 2014
Police came under attack in the Woodvale area of north Belfast on the Twelfth. (© Presseye)
Alexander Bain - who spent several days in hospital after being hit with a plastic bullet - was described as a "main aggressor" in a crowd of loyalists who attacked police lines in the Woodvale/Twaddell area last summer.
Bain, from Hillpark Drive in Glasgow, will spend 15 months in custody with a further 15 months spent on supervised licence upon his release.
Belfast Crown Court heard that trouble flared in the Woodvale area of the city following a Parades Commission determination not to allow a loyalist flute band to walk past the Ardoyne shop fronts on their return journey on 12 July last year.
During intense rioting, police officers were pelted with petrol bombs, masonry, bottles and other missiles.
Around 20 officers were injured, five of whom were hospitalised.
Crown prosecutor Robin Steer said Bain was involved in several incidents, including climbing on top of a police Land Rover where he danced on the roof of the vehicle, kicked a metal grill and gestured that he was urinating on officers.
When warned about his behaviour, he used aggressive language and gestures towards police.
He also bared his bottom at officers, kicked a police shield, threw several missiles at police lines and struck a PSNI vehicle with a large pole.
He was arrested two days later but had to be taken to hospital where he was treated for a wound caused by the plastic bullet, which became infected.
When he was interviewed on 18 July, Bain told police he "got carried away" and pleaded guilty to a charge of rioting.
A lawyer for Bain revealed his client suffered from a number of health issues, including chronic hepatitis.
He also told the court that when shot by the plastic bullet, Bain was holding an item of clothing, and not a missile as was originally suspected by police.
The defence lawyer said Bain was a "frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, attending events like this", adding that after attending the main Twelfth demonstration, Bain "followed the crowd and ended up in the Woodvale area."
Sentencing Bain, Judge Gordon Kerr QC accepted that Bain has addiction and health issues, but said that due to his actions last July, "this man must go to prison."
© UTV News