Man jailed after he shouted sectarian remarks at protest

One of the flag protests in Portadown.
One of the flag protests in Portadown.

A YOUNG man who shouted sectarian remarks during a flags protest in Portadown was jailed for three months on Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

He was 18 year old Mark McKinley, of Bluestone Hall, Knockmenagh, and he admitted disorderly behaviour in the vicinity of Market Street, Portadown, on December 21.

The court heard that about 6pm a flags protest was taking place in Portadown. There were shoppers and members of the public in the area.

McKinley was seen shouting loudly and swearing. He shouted a number of sectarian comments.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

District Judge, Mr Alan White, pointed out that just six weeks after McKinley had been given a combination order he had made naked sectarian remarks and was in very serious difficulties.

Mr Gabriel Ingram, representing the defendant, said that McKinley’s reaction in this incident was due to alcohol. He had been drinking all day and came across this protest. It was not the case he set out to become involved.

Mr White said that McKinley had claimed the police presence amounted to antagonism.

Mr Ingram said McKinley was due to start an alcohol awareness course and suggested a short deferral of sentence.

Judge White said these protests cause a lot of disruption to the community and for someone to stand and shout sectarian remarks aggravated matters.

He added that McKinley had been given an opportunity previously with a combination order of community service and probation.

Mr White sentenced him to three months in a young offenders’ centre and ordered him to pay a £25 offender’s levy.

Later in the court McKinley was released on bail to appeal against the sentence.