A 23-year old father-of-one who told police he was “sickened” by his behaviour after watching CCTV footage of himself during a riot is now starting a nine-month prison sentence.
Stuart Madden, from Elgin Street in Belfast, was handed an 18-month sentence on Wednesday after he admitted rioting in the Woodvale/Twaddell Avenue last July. Judge Donna McColgan ordered Madden to serve half the sentence in custody, with the remaining nine months spent under supervised licenced parole.
Trouble flared in the Woodvale area of the city following a Parades Commission determination not to allow a loyalist flute band to walk past the Ardoyne shop fronts on their return journey on July 12 last year.
Crown prosecutor Joseph Murphy said that during the riots that broke out following the determination, police lines were pelted with petrol bombs, masonry and other missiles, resulting in scores of officers sustaining injuries.
Madden was captured on police footage in the area for around one hour and 25 minutes, during which time he was seen to knock over a wheelie bin containing bottles which other rioters then threw at police lines. He was also seen “interacting with police”, as well as throwing one bottle at officers.
Mr Murphy told the court that Madden’s involvement in the riot was “limited”, adding “the nature of the violence used by the defendant was fairly minimal.”
Defence solicitor Jonathan Burke said that when images of rioters were circulated by the PSNI, Madden identified himself and made arrangements to hand himself in to police.
Saying Madden’s actions were a self-confessed “moment of madness” due to too much drink taken, Mr Burke said that when he was interviewed, Madden branded his actions as “disgraceful and disgusting”, adding his client was “extremely ashamed and very apologetic”.
Mr Burke also said Madden was a man with alcohol issues and that during the riot, he was “handing around, quite plainly under the influence.”
Sentencing Madden, Judge McColgan said: “You were seen on CCTV footage pushing a wheelie bin containing empty bottles onto the road, and as a result of that action, you made missiles available to others who were present at the scene.”
Telling Madden she accepted his involvement “falls at the lower end”, the Judge told the court that during police interviews, Madden said he was “sickened” by what he saw himself doing on July 12 last year.