Seven in court over west Belfast rioting
Seven men have appeared in court following an outbreak of rioting in west Belfast on the eve of the Twelfth.
Friday, 13 July 2012
Six of the suspects - all from the city - are accused of being involved in rioting which erupted in the Broadway area in the early hours of Thursday.
They are Mark Downey, 34, of Ardmonagh Gardens; Paul Keenan, 28, from New Barnsley Park; Martin Murray, 18, and his 19-year-old brother Thomas, both of Cavendish Street; Shaun McCann, 19, from Whiterock Gardens; and Gerard Reid, 23, of Monagh Drive.
They all face charges of riotous assembly.
Reid is also accused of disorderly behaviour, assault on police and resisting arrest.
A seventh suspect, Martin Burns, 21, of Irwell Court in Belfast, is charged with disorderly behaviour, assault on police and resisting police.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard allegations that he aggressively approached shielded officers who had formed a line across the Falls Road during the disturbances.
It was claimed that he was pushed back but kicked out at a shield, inflicting an injury to one officer's nose and verbally abused the officer.
Burns' solicitor stressed that he was not charged with rioting. He said the accused was allegedly hit with a shield as he tried to get home by slipping through police lines.
Keenan, a chef who works in a south Belfast bar and restaurant, claimed that he got out of a taxi in the area and watched the rioting without taking any part in it.
Keenan, who also faces another count of disorderly behaviour, denies allegations he shouted sectarian comments at the police.
The court heard that Martin Murray, an electrical engineering student, was allegedly seen throwing bottles and stones at police but has denied being part of the main rioting.
Thomas Murray claimed to be in the area because he was out looking for his younger brother.
Reid was said to have approached police lines and taken his T-shirt off, but denied striking out at officers.
McCann, who denies involvement in the riot, was spotted on CCTV picking up stones and throwing them at a police vehicle, a detective said.
He claimed to be in the area to assist a friend and his solicitor insisted he denies any riotous behaviour or any criminal activity.
"My client says the CCTV will vindicate him in relation to this matter," he said.
Martin and Thomas Murray, McCann and Burns were granted bail to appear again later this month.
The men were curfewed and banned from going to Londonderry amid police concerns over a contentious Apprentice Boys parade in the city on 11 August.
Keenan and Reid were refused bail due to the risk of reoffending and remanded in custody for a week along with Downey, who did not seek bail.