Buckfast rioter danced on PSNI van

Published Friday, 07 March 2014
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A north Belfast man has been jailed for six months after he was caught on film dancing on top of police landrovers while drinking from a bottle of Buckfast wine.

Buckfast rioter danced on PSNI van
Barr pleaded guilty to rioting on the Twelfth. (© UTV)

Belfast Crown Court heard that Craig James Barr was later identified from the footage "when his mask literally slipped".

Barr, who is 20 and from the Ligoniel Road area of the city, pleaded guilty to rioting during the Twelfth of July parade on the Woodvale road last year.

Rioting erupted after the return journey of a feeder parade by Ligoniel Orangemen was blocked from walking past the Ardoyne shop fronts by police, following a determination by the Parades Commission.

A prosecuting solicitor said police came under sustained attack from loyalists who pelted officers with bricks, bottles, heavy masonry and industrial wheelie bins.

Police deployed water cannon and plastic baton rounds were also fired, the court was told.

A total of 20 petrol bombs were thrown at police after darkness fell. Belfast Crown Court heard 20 police officers were injured, two were hospitalised, during 12 hours of rioting which started at 4pm and lasted until 4am the following morning.

The lawyer said Barr was present during the riot for almost two hours up to 10pm and was captured on police camera throwing a number of bottles and heavy masonry at PSNI riot lines.

"He climbed on top of police landrovers, jumping from one vehicle to another and dancing. He was holding a bottle of Buckfast," said the crown solicitor.

Deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Philpott QC watched CCTV footage of Barr who was dressed in black tracksuit bottoms and black Adidas top with a white stripe emblazoned on the front and back.

He also had his hood up and his face was partially covered.

The court heard Barr was arrested on 29 October 2013 and during his second interview admitted throwing bottles at police: "He was drinking and he apologised for his actions".

Asked by the judge how police identified Barr, the prosecuting solicitor said: "His masked literally slipped and police identified him."

A defence solicitor said that Barr had now expressed remorse for his actions saying he was "sorry for any police officers who were hurt". He added that the defendant was "truly sorry, embarrassed and ashamed" for what he did that day.

However, the court was told in a pre-sentence report, Barr told a probation officer that neither the "Parades Commission, the PSNI and Catholics would not prevent him from walking the Queen's road".

Judge Philpott QC remarked: "That does not show a change in attitude. His behaviour on top of that landrover only encouraged others.

"That type of disrespect for law and order only encourages others to act in a similar way."

However, the deputy Belfast Recorder said Barr was a vulnerable man with mental health issues, which included depression and attempted suicide. Judge Philpott QC sentenced Barr to two years, with six months to be spent in custody and 18 months on licence. The judge ordered that Barr should serve his full six months in Hydebank Young Offenders Centre.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
realistic in planet earth wrote (325 days ago):
sham - 8 comments so far, 7 of which don't show much sympathy for this idiot - yours doesn't say anything about him........ tell us your thoughts on rioters such as this guy???? is he being victimised sham? is his culture being eroded? or is he just a drunken idiotic rioter?
Sam1690 in Ballysillan wrote (328 days ago):
Whatever you're taking unrealistic, I'll have two, your head's in the clouds. Do you even know what you're on about?
tarzan in swing about wrote (328 days ago):
what a twit!
J in Belfast wrote (330 days ago):
6 months is too little. But a step in the right direction. People can be as apologetic and remorseful as they like to their solicitor, and therefore the judge, but what was said to the probation officer during pre sentence interview speaks volumes! Depressed? Suicidal? I have news mate, there are a lot of people like you. No excuses!!!!
dont blame the drink in bangor wrote (330 days ago):
he should stick to tea or coffee, it seems he cant handle his drink? but this is no excuse for rioting, maybe the time spent in jail , he can reflect on how stupid he was?
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