A MAN who raised two middle fingers as he crossed a road in front of a loyalist flute band has been fined £500.
Daryl Dooey (35), of Parker Avenue in Portrush, pleaded guilty to doing a provocative act by making a ‘rude hand gesture’ with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or from which public disorder was likely to be occasioned during a Junior Orange Order parade last summer.
He had denied a second charge – disorderly behaviour – but after a contested hearing at Coleraine Magistrates Court he was convicted of that charge.
Praising police for their quick intervention, a judge said the incident in Portrush could easily have “escalated” resulting in much more serious disorder.
During the hearing the court was shown two mobile phone clips depicting events occurring on June 1 last year
Dooey was seen gesturing towards the parade passing along Kerr Street in front of Portrush Town hall.
With children clearly visible in the footage he is heard shouting “f**k you” twice as onlookers remonstrate with the defendant.
In the second clip showing events immediately afterwards, he crosses the road just feet from members of a band.
As he reaches the centre of the road, he faces them and raises both middle fingers above his head.
Dooey is jostled off the road and quickly surrounded by parade participants.
The court heard police officers arrived almost immediately.
A police officer said Dooey had apologised in the station and admitted he’d been an “idiot”.
According to a second police witness there had been “a lot of shouting going on” and Dooey had been in possession of an empty half-bottle of vodka.
Convicting the accused, District Judge Peter King said: “It is quite clear that not only was there a provocative act but your behaviour was absolutely disorderly”.
A defence lawyer said the impact of the incident had been “quite immense” on the defendant who “wants to try and put it behind him”.
Imposing fines totalling £500, Judge King told Dooey marchers had a right to hold parades and he had a right to protest.
“The issue is how you manifest that,” he added.
“This could easily have escalated in a way that could have caused a much more serious incident,” said the judge.