Eleven men fined for taking part in illegal republican parade

Thomas Ashe Mellon was one of those convicted for taking part in the parade
Thomas Ashe Mellon was one of those convicted for taking part in the parade

Eleven men have been fined £750 each for taking part in an illegal republican parade in Londonderry at Easter last year.

The parade in Creggan on April 2, 2018 was proceeded by public disorder and petrol bombs and masonry were thrown at police.

The eleven men convicted included: Joseph Patrick Barr, 31, of Sackville Court, Andrew Carlin, 31, of Woodvale Mews, Eglinton, Gearoid Peter Cavanagh, 30, of Northland Road, Jason Lee Ceulemans, of Long Tower Court, Gary Hayden, 46, of Tyrconnell Street, William Martin McDonnell, 32, of Harvey Street and Paul McIntyre, 51, of Ballymagowan Park.

Also found guilty were Patrick Mellon, 27, of John Field Place, Thomas Ashe Mellon, 43, of Rathmore Road, John Patrick Nash, 65, of Fergleen Park and Christopher O’Kane, 45, of Iniscarn Road. The case against a 12th man was adjourned.

Londonderry Magistrates Court heard the men were identified during controlled viewings of video evidence.

A chief inspector told the court that police became aware through social media there was going to be a parade on Easter Monday and information suggested there would be people wearing paramilitary style uniforms.

He said police tried to engage with the community to reach a resolution prior to the parade, but this was unsuccessful

He said he initially deployed a minimum of officers to gather evidence, but had to increase the numbers because of public disorder.

Another inspector said he went to Junior McDaid House earlier that day to deliver a letter advising anyone organising or participating in the parade that they may be liable for arrest or prosecution.

He added that he was one of the commanders in the Creggan area on the day and an audio recording of a similar warning was played on a loop.

The inspector said there were banners on the side of the police land rovers also advising organisers and participants it was an illegal parade.

The court also heard from two of the officers involved in identifying those taking part in the parade.

One officer identified 16 people, including some who were not charged with the offence, while the other identified around a dozen.

Defence barristers and solicitors for the 11 men did not challenge any of the evidence. None of the defendants gave any evidence.

Convicting the men, District Judge Barney McElholm said: “The evidence of the police officers is clear. This was an unnotified procession within the terms of the legislation.

“We have heard police had no intention whatsoever of stopping or interfering with this parade. If they had been notified I am not sure they would have done much at all but observe from a distance.”

He said police had “reason to believe there may be people goose stepping about in paramilitary garb, which is an offence, and that there may be preparations being made to attack any police who may be in the area.

“They moved in, observed those participating in the parade and identified a number of people”.