‘Up the ‘Ra’ cyclist sparked mass city centre fighting

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A teenage cyclist who sparked fighting among 50 youths near a Belfast train station has been ordered to complete 175 hours community service.

Stephen Manning caused large-scale public disorder after earlier shouting “Up the ‘Ra” at police who stopped him for riding his bike into oncoming traffic, prosecutors said.

The 18-year-old, of Orchard Mews in the city, pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly behaviour and careless cycling.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard Manning was seen on his bike heading towards motorists at the Albert Bridge on May 9.

He veered across lanes and almost caused a collision, according to police.

He then became disorderly towards officers who detained him at the scene, the judge was told.

A prosecution lawyer said: “The defendant shouted ‘Up the ‘Ra’ as he cycled away from police.”

Ten minutes later he became embroiled in trouble on nearby East Bridge Street, close to Central Station.

“He instigated a large fight between approximately 50 young persons by striking another male, resulting in large-scale public disorder,” the lawyer added.

Defence solicitor Michael Brentnall stressed it was Manning’s first offending since he turned 18.

He also pointed out that his client was not charged with any assault.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall sentenced Manning to 175 hours community service for the two episodes of disorderly behaviour.

Imposing a £100 fine for the careless cycling, she warned him: “If you don’t pay it you will be brought back to court and could be sent to prison for up to seven days.”