Photographer guilty of assaulting police during mayor’s visit

The scene at the re-opening of the park in north Belfast last August.

The scene at the re-opening of the park in north Belfast last August.

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A photographer was found guilty yesterday of assaulting two police officers as Belfast’s Lord Mayor was caught in scuffles at a new play park last year.

Paul Mateer, 45 and of Blackmountain Walk, Belfast, was bound over to keep the peace for two years, fined £150 and ordered to pay £175 in compensation.

Following a two-day trial at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, District Judge George Conner held that a wider crowd in Woodvale had subjected the city’s Sinn Fein Lord Mayor to verbal and physical abuse.

In his evidence Mateer repeatedly insisted he had only been in the park working for the Shankill Extra newspaper.

Denying prosecution claims about assaulting police, he replied: “My father was an RUC officer.”

The judge said he was satisfied he deliberately assaulted one officer by nipping him under the arm, and pushed another and used abusive language when challenged.

A second defendant, Samuel Lendrum, 52, of Lawnbrook Avenue, was convicted of disorderly behaviour and given a one-month sentence.

A co-accused, grandmother Maureen Simpson, 44, of Palmer Court, walked free after a disorderly behaviour charge was dismissed.

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