Parade protestor who ‘shouted at MLA’ in Rasharkin is fined

Court

A MAN who was part of a group protesting in connection with a band parade at Rasharkin has been fined £250 after shouting at bandsmen, band supporters and “particularly towards a local MLA”.

Pearse Kelly (22), of Orangefield Place in Rasharkin was part of the Rasharkin Residents Collective protest at the Ballymaconnelly flute band parade on August 18, 2017, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

A charge of being disorderly at Main Street in Rasharkin was withdrawn but the defendant, who was not present in court because he had a job interview, admitted a charge of failing to comply with conditions imposed by the Parades Commission on protestors.

Protestors had been banned from using ‘words or behaviour which could reasonably be perceived as intentionally sectarian, provocative, threatening, abusive, insulting or lewd’.

The type of phrases used by the defendant were not outlined to the court but the prosecutor said the MLA – whose name was not revealed in court – spoke to the police about the situation.

A defence lawyer said the defendant was “swept into the chaos” and since the events he had “put his head down” and was not present at court because he had a job interview.

The lawyer said the defendant is highly involved in the local community and plays GAA.

Fining the defendant £250, a judge said the incident was towards the bottom end of the scale.

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