A choir singing carols in Victoria Square was left startled when a vandal threw a heavy drink at them from above – just missing a retired judge.
The episode happened on Monday evening while the Law Society choir sang at Belfast’s high-end retail centre.
The free performance was to entertain festive shoppers, raise cash for the NI Hospice and promote the choir’s CD (all funds from which go to the hospice).
During the hour-long event passers-by stopped to enjoy the carols.
But during a rendition of White Christmas a heavy drink – seemingly a thick milk shake in a large disposable cup – landed with a thud from a landing in the stairs two levels up.
The missile was followed by other debris – possibly another drink. The creamy milk shake fell at the feet of lawyers, including a young female barrister, Jessica Wolseley, and a retired judge, John Curran.
It landed with such force that it could have injured a singer if it had hit their face.
The performance of the carol shuddered to a halt, as singers tried to register what had happened, but in true entertainment tradition, within moments the carol resumed.
The choir later sang a full uninterrupted version of White Christmas.
Security men arrived quickly on the scene, and apologetic staff cleaned up the mess, which splattered some of the choir.
A security man later told the News Letter that CCTV did not capture the incident but footage seemed to show the feet of the throwers.
Other footage showed possibly the same people – three young males with a woman – hurriedly leave the store, covering their identity.
There were signs of spilt fluid at the point from which the drink was thrown, but of a different substance to the milk shake. It may have come from the second missile that seemed to have been thrown.
Some of the pro bono choir, made up of members of the legal profession, later made light of the incident, and joked about personal injury claims.
An unruffled Mr Curran quipped that the thrower “certainly wasn’t a music lover”.
Ms Wolseley said: “It didn’t strike on me, it just splashed up on my coat.”
Joe Rice, a solicitor who is co chair of the choir, said: “It was a shocking incident for those that were close to the missile landing.
“Potentially it had very serious consequences and we were relived that no-one was injured and the show could go on.
“Both the hospice and Victoria Square thanked us for our efforts for charity.”
Earlier that day that choir sang carols in a courtroom at the High Court in Belfast during lunchtime.