A recovering drug addict who couldn’t remember throwing a brick at police during rioting last August was sentenced to a total of 15 months yesterday.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told 32-year-old father-of-two Dean Brian Atcheson from Rathfern Way, Newtownabbey, the courts made it clear that rioters, except in highly exceptional circumstances, will go to jail.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said Atcheson, who was part of a loyalist counter-demonstration to an anti-internment rally, was captured by police CCTV rioting in Royal Avenue on August 9 last year.
During the disturbance police had to fire baton rounds and a water cannon was also deployed.
Mr Jenkins said Atcheson was later pictured either pushing or punching at police shields on up to six occasions, and throwing a brick at police lines.
A defence lawyer said that a deeply remorseful and shameful Atcheson could not remember throwing a missile at police. Atcheson, who pleaded guilty to rioting, will serve seven and a half months in custody, followed by a similar period of supervised licensed parole.