Protest marshal bound over to keep peace

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A marshal accused of waving a walking stick during disorder in Belfast has been bound over to keep the peace.

George Patton had denied a charge of disorderly behaviour amid loyalist protests surrounding an anti-internment parade in the city last August.

The 58-year-old, of Glenbryn Parade, Belfast, claimed he was only trying to stop trouble.

Video footage of the incident was played during the contested hearing at the city’s Magistrates’ Court.

It appeared to show protestors pressed up against riot squad officers in the Peter’s Hill area. At one stage police water cannon was deployed.

Prosecutors claimed Patton could be seen holding the stick up and directing it towards a police shield.

In evidence the defendant described himself as a qualified Orange Order marshal.

He told the court community representatives had sought his assistance that day on a one-off basis.

“When I had the stick I was pointing to the officer that young lads needed to get out of the road,” he said.

“They were standing on railings, some in the street were throwing stones.

“I was pointing and telling the officer ‘that’s where the problem is’, if they could move them along.”

Patton had the walking stick with him due to a bad knee, the court heard.

In cross-examination he denied waving it about during the incident.

“I was getting pushed to and fro and I’m trying to get them (protestors) off the wall,” he insisted.

But after reviewing the CCTV evidence District Judge Amanda Henderson ruled that Patton is to be bound over in the sum of £500 for two years.

The Northern Ireland Courts Service confirmed that under the terms of the order he is not to be involved in any public disorder during that period.