Ardoyne riot pair placed on probation


Two men who became embroiled in a riot in the Ardoyne area of Belfast were both placed on probation yesterday after appearing in court.

Martin Faulkner, 43, from Antrim Road, Belfast, and 25-year old Christopher McDonnell, from the city’s Wyndham Street, were each placed on two years probation after admitting a charge of rioting on July 12, 2012.

Belfast Crown Court heard that both men were part of a crowd who attacked police lines at the Ardoyne shopfronts flashpoint. During the serious street disorder, officers were pelted with missiles including petrol bombs.

Faulkner was seen smashing reinforced concrete into smaller pieces of masonry – which a Crown prosecutor said helped to faciliate the riot – and was also observed throwing a small suitcase at police lines.

His barrister told the court his client sustained a “significant brain injury” in a sectarian attack which has rendered him “a vulnerable person who is often utilised by others”.

The court heard that during the riot, McDonnell was seen shining a green laser pen at police officers on three separate occasions.

His counsel told the court that his client’s IQ was so low that he was deemed mentally handicapped, revealing he was “profoundly illiterate and intellectually impaired”.