Man jailed for role in flag protest
A 29-year-old Craigavon man was jailed for three months last Friday after he took part in a flags protest in Portadown.
Steven Victor George Ruddell, of Parkmore, admitted obstructing traffic, obstructing a constable, resisting a constable and disorderly behaviour on January 6 this year.
For obstructing traffic he was sentenced to one month in prison and for each of the other charges he was given three months. All terms are to run concurrently.
The court heard that at 7.40pm a flags protest was taking place in High Street, Portadown.
The defendant had a large flag and was walking into oncoming traffic. Police asked him not to go onto the road but he stepped on the road again. He refused to give his details.
Ruddell also waved the flag in front of a vehicle which had to slow down and stop, causing an obstruction.
When police arrested the defendant the crowd of about 100 reacted and tried to pull him away from police. Ruddell put his arms on the door frame of the police vehicle.
He was again asked for his details but refused, twice telling police to ‘go f- yourself’.
Mr Brendan Hagan, representing Ruddell, who appeared in court by way of videolink from Maghaberry, said his client was serving a sentence he received in the Crown Court.
He explained that the protest had been arranged quickly through social media.
Ruddell, he added, had been drinking most of the afternoon and some friends called round and joined in the party. Another person, who had no drink taken, drove them into the protest in Portadown.
Mr Hagan said there was an element of exhibitionism about the defendant’s behaviour. He was warned a couple of times about his behaviour but did not accept the warnings.
He added that Ruddell would just have been part of the crowd if he had not been so intoxicated.
Deputy District Judge, Mr Neil Rafferty, said these sort of cases must be taken seriously by the courts.
He added that the right to protest must be respected but it had a responsibility not to step outside the law. Unfortunately in this country it has led to civil order and violence.
Mr Rafferty told Ruddell he had stepped over the line and sparked a reaction amongst the crowd which caused police officers to be put at risk.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Portadown
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 12 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West