Pensioner acquitted of assaulting officer at Twaddell protest camp

Loyalist protesters at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Loyalist protesters at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

A pensioner has been acquitted of assaulting a policewoman by throwing a cup of tea over her close to a loyalist protest camp.

But Agnes Redford was convicted of disorderly behaviour during the same incident in north Belfast last December.

The 63-year-old, who helps serve refreshments for Orangemen campaigning to complete a contentious parade past the Ardoyne district, received a 12-month conditional discharge.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard on Thursday how she had been standing at Twaddell Avenue roundabout with some other women when a motorist drove past and shouted sectarian abuse.

CCTV footage appeared to show her then step forward while holding a white polystyrene cup and waving a red, white and blue scarf complete with an image of the Queen.

It was claimed that she could be heard shouting back to the motorist: “Kiss that.”

A police sergeant told the court she intervened at this stage and tried to usher Redford back on to the traffic island.

“The next thing I had tea running all down my face, and all down the front of my body armour,” she said.

“I said to her ‘You have just thrown tea around me’ and she said ‘What are you going to do about it?’

“I said ‘I’m going to arrest you’.”

Redford, of Altnacreeva Avenue, Belfast, was detained and subsequently charged with assault on police and disorderly behaviour.

Her case was that any spillage occurred accidentally after she had her arm grabbed.

Giving evidence she claimed that she was standing on the traffic island on December 7 when a female motorist drove past and called her names.

Redford continued: “She said get that scarf off your neck or I’ll wring you with it.”

According to her account she stepped onto the road after being threatened, only for the officer to push her back.

Questioned by defence lawyer John Greer, Redford denied throwing tea over the policewoman. The cup was not even a quarter full at the time, she added.

Deputy District Judge Joseph McCrisken dismissed the assault charge but convicted on the disorderly behaviour count.

Redford may now appeal that conviction.