Published Monday, 06 January 2014
The incident happened during a demonstration at Belfast City Hall. (© Pacemaker)
Damien Joseph Young received a one-month sentence on Monday for his provocative act in front of demonstrators at Belfast City Hall on Saturday.
The 47-year-old from Derry pleaded guilty to the offence after telling police: "I was only trying to be the big man."
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard how Young aggressively approached a crowd of around 50 peaceful protestors gathered at Donegall Square North.
Traffic had to stop abruptly to avoid hitting him as he headed straight for the group.
A prosecution lawyer said police spotted Young, of no fixed address, take off his jacket and throw it to the ground. He then rolled up the sleeve of his jumper and pointed to a Republic of Ireland flag tattooed on his upper right arm.
Young was removed for his own safety as members of the crowd became agitated and started shouting at both him and police, the court heard.
The defendant then swore at officers as they tried to deal with him. Although he claimed to be staying at the Morning Star hostel in the city, staff later confirmed he was banned from the premises.
Young pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly behaviour and doing a provocative act.
Having waived his right to a pre-sentence report, a defence solicitor revealed that the offences were committed the day after completing a four-month jail sentence for assault.
She told the court Young walked to Lisburn from Maghaberry Prison on Friday before getting a train to Belfast.
He started drinking after failing to secure bed and breakfast accommodation.
"He came across the flag protestors and went over to them, but it was not aggressive in any fashion," the solicitor said. "With drink on him he thought it would be a bit of a laugh to roll up his sleeve and show his tattoo, the flag of the Irish Republic."
But District Judge Rosalie Prytherch rejected Young's explanation.
She told him: "I think it's anything but a bit of a laugh. You have an absolutely appalling record for disorderly behaviour. And this is the very day after you get out of Maghaberry."
Mrs Prytherch sentenced him to a total of one month in jail for both offences. As Young was led back to the cells he directed a thumbs-up gesture towards the judge.
© UTV News