Trio in court over Twaddell flag charges

Trio in court over Twaddell flag charges

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.

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.


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