Fishing rod rioter jailed for four months

Court gavel judge
Court gavel judge

A Belfast man was jailed for four months yesterday after he attacked police with a fishing road during a loyalist protest against a republican anti-internment parade last summer.

George Hunter, 33, of Egmont Gardens, in the south of the city, pleaded guilty to a single charge of rioting on August 9, 2013.

Belfast Crown Court heard the father-of-three was at the loyalist protest in Royal Avenue for around 90 minutes waving a Union Jack flag perched on top of a fishing rod.

Deputy Belfast Recorder Judge Corinne Philpott QC watched police CCTV footage which showed Hunter first battering riot officers with the fishing rod and then poking them with it as police tried to clear the city centre thoroughfare.

“I take a dim view of using the flag in that manner,’’ said Judge Philpott QC. “What was he doing poking a fishing road at the faces and bodies of police? It is a sure way to poke an eye out.’’

Defence barrister Taylor Campbell said Hunter was deeply remorseful for his “dreadful behaviour’’ which he said was “totally out of character’’ given his voluntary work in the community.