A young east Belfast man who was caught on police CCTV rioting for over an hour, during which he helped pull and tip a burning commercial bin onto the roadway last January, has been jailed for 15 months.
Belfast Deputy Recorder, Judge Corinne Philpott QC told 20-year-old Scott Moore on Tuesday, that instead of going home to Templemore Avenue after taking part in a peaceful flag protest, he joined a large number of rioters and was “constantly seen in front of police lines throwing eight missiles”.
The Belfast Crown Court judge said the most serious part of his offending was encouraging others to help him push the bin onto the Albertbridge Road, with the only possible aim of wanting to cause damage to one of the main roads into the city centre.
However, Judge Philpott said the identification evidence against him was weak, and he could have fought the case, and although late in the day he pleaded guilty, showing some form of contrition, she was prepared to given him substantial credit for that guilty plea.
The judge added, but for the incident involving the wheelie bin, he could have received even greater credit.
Defence solicitor-advocate John Burke, claimed Moore got caught up in a moment of madness, but nevertheless it was absolutely appalling behaviour that had no excuse or explanation.
Moore, he said, was there with some friends for the flag protest, but for whatever reason he got himself involved in rioting.
Mr Burke said Moore was a young man with a completely clear record, for whom there was no greater lesson than an appearance in court in the knowledge he faced a lengthy custodial sentence.
Mr Burke added that in Moore’s case, his involvement could be regarded as certainly a one-off.
Moore, who came to court prepared for going to prison, as evidenced by his large hold-all bag, pleaded guilty to rioting on January 5 last year.
As part of his sentence, once he has completed the full term of 15 months in prison, he will then be under supervised parole for a further 21 months.