Trio in court over Twaddell flag charges

Published Wednesday, 23 April 2014
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A woman and two men have appeared in court on charges connected to flags being torn down at a loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast.

Trio in court over Twaddell flag charges
The camp was established at Twaddell in north Belfast last summer. (© UTV)

The trio - Kerry O'Hara, 20 and from Ardmore Road in Londonderry, 21-year-old Sean Hyland from Cranbrook Court in Belfast, and 22-year-old Patrick Quinn from Rosehead in Dunmurry - were in the dock at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

They are alleged to have damaged flags and banners at the camp and waved a tricolour in the flashpoint area with the intent of provoking a breach of the peace.

O'Hara and Quinn face a further charge of stealing a flag from the camp, while Hyland is accused of obstructing police.

A police constable told the court: "What allegedly happened was this gentleman (Hyland) with the two others tore down banners, took down flags and also stood on the opposite side of the road to the camp with a tricolour and waved it."

Neither O'Hara nor Quinn sought bail and were both remanded in custody to appear before the court via video-link next week.

An application for bail was made by Hyland, which was opposed by police on the grounds that the accused lives too close to the scene of the alleged trouble.

The constable told the court it was a highly volatile location with ongoing public order problems.

Although he stressed that it was not a "no-go area" for police, he added that planning would be required before officers could go in to check on any bail conditions.

Hyland's defence lawyer argued that his client had no reason to go near the site, adding: "Tensions have been caused, not by members of the local community, but by this illegal camp."

District Judge Fiona Bagnall ruled that Hyland could be granted bail once an alternative address was approved by police.

She imposed an exclusion zone and prohibited him from going within 500 metres of the Twaddell Avenue demonstration.

Hyland is due back in court on 21 May.

Before he was led from the dock, his lawyer continued to argue that the camp should be "dismantled" and told Judge Bagnall that it was "perhaps something Mr Hyland will pursue in another court".

Loyalists have been protesting at Twaddell Avenue since last July, after a decision to restrict an Orange Order parade.

© UTV News
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13 Comments
just sayin in n iron wrote (95 days ago):
No one bothering to condemn the actions of the anti protestant bigoted idiots then.Every one of the 12 comments so far has used this as a means to stereotype the pul protest and Protestant parades in general rather than condemn the actions of those who rightly ended up in court.It seems by your comments your prepared to give your tacit approval of attacks upon others because it suits your particular political sensitivities.
Martin in Lurgan wrote (96 days ago):
They are charged with waving a tricolour, which is provocative. Yet the other side of the street is awash with union flags and this isn't provocative? That hardly sounds like parity of esteem - nothing ever changes. The police set these charges, let's hope the PPS have more sense.
Eamon in N.belfast wrote (96 days ago):
Well this wouldnt happen if they just stop they blocking local people to get to tesco also playing there loud band music every nite just face it its not going to happen getting back up that road and the main thing it costing a lot of money for police to be up that road that money could with going to hospitals or for ppl who cancer
Matt in Belfast wrote (96 days ago):
Does that mean when tri colours and polish flags are burned on bonfires for the 12th that the people responsible will be arrested for hate crimes hmmmm i wonder
tony maronie in newcatle co down wrote (96 days ago):
bit extreme people getting remaded in custody for tearing down a sectarian flag that was put up in a sensitive area by sectarian bigots. I think all flags should be banned in this country.
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