Teen joined riot after checking Facebook

Published Monday, 25 February 2013
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A teenager who joined loyalist flag rioters after checking Facebook has been jailed for three months.

Teen joined riot after checking Facebook
Rioters throw missiles at police during disorder in Newtownabbey last month. (© Presseye)

David Crooks admitted throwing stones at police during orchestrated disorder in the Newtownabbey area, Belfast Magistrates' Court heard on Monday.

The 19-year-old claimed he had only gone along to watch, but got caught up in the trouble on 8 December. Crooks, of Rosslea Way, Newtownabbey, faced a single charge of riotous behaviour.

The court heard how police deployed water canon in an attempt to quell a large crowd firing rocks and other projectiles at them.

Violence flared in the Rathcoole area just days after the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall sparked street protests in some areas.

His solicitor argued that he had not intended to become involved.

She told the court: "He instructs me that he was in bed, he was on Facebook and saw things were happening.

"Initially he was going to spectate but got caught up in it. He accepts that was one of the most foolish things he's ever done."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall accepted Crooks has a clear record and pleaded guilty early on, but she ruled that the seriousness of the offence warranted an immediate jail sentence.

"It was a fairly extensive incident as I understand it, and largely orchestrated," the judge pointed out.

"Rocks and dangerous projectiles were thrown, causing major disruption and risk to the public.

"It's a matter with a significant crowd rioting, and it was a lengthy incident.

"I will therefore impose three months custody."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Rachael in Belfast wrote (669 days ago):
That's a disgrace. There is more things more important things happening in the world than this
SHORT STRAND MAN in belfast wrote (699 days ago):
hopefully theres plenty more were that came from but maybe there should be tougher sentences.3 months is nothing.they should have made an example here..2 years and they would think twice.thugs cannot be allowed to riot as they please.jail them all.
Brendy N. Belfast in N.Belfast wrote (699 days ago):
Over the course of the riots I myself seen many notifications of where trouble was happening. I can also confirm I was in my bed the majority of the time i found out about these incidents. However unlike this numbskull I had the sense to stay there and regularly check the U.TV news site for update reports. No one ever gets arrested for that. A 19 year old really should have more sense, get used to porridge.
Happy Face in Belfast wrote (699 days ago):
Theres another kids life ruined,criminal record, no chance of getting a job now. But that does not matter to the loyalist thugs who wind these kids up and then leave them to it.Why since loyalist UVF were identified as being involved in the roits, have none of them been arrested. Its a joke that all these kids are being arrested and the big fish get of the hook.NO JUSTICE.
jim in belfast wrote (699 days ago):
3 months for throwing a stone !! w hen has a catholic ever been jailed for throwing a stone ??
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