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Councillor convicted of disorderly behaviour

Councillor Padraig McShane at a previous court hearing in Coleraine

AN independent councillor has been fined £500 after being convicted of disorderly behaviour at a council building on the night of a loyalist flag protest.

A court heard that Padraig McShane (43) lifted a glass bottle and threatened to "shove" it down the throat of the husband of a TUV councillor at the former Moyle council building in December 2012.

The former Sinn Fein councillor, who has previous convictions for disorderly behaviour and assault on police, had contested the charge.

However, District Judge Liam McNally said he found former SDLP councillor Catherine McCambridge, who gave evidence in the case, to be an "excellent" witness.

McShane had alleged that Mrs McCambridge held a "grudge" against him because he had defeated her husband in a previous election.

Stephen McKillop, husband of TUV councillor Sharon McKillop, previously alleged that McShane lifted a bottle and threatened to throw it at him during a break in council proceedings.

McShane, of White Hall Avenue, Ballycastle, and Mrs McKillop are now members of the new Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council.

The row happened as loyalists mounted a protest outside the council building in support of Union flag protestors in Belfast.

Giving evidence at an earlier sitting, Stephen McKillop claimed that on his way into the council meeting McShane "walked straight over to me and put his head right into my head and said: 'Keep you running you wee b-----d ye, you and that wee bitch of a wife of yours'."

He said he also approached him in the public gallery, then took his seat and drew back his hand as if he were about to throw a bottle of water.

But a defence barrister claimed Mr McKillop had threatened the republican councillor, saying: "You'll be done" and "We know where you live now and you'll be done".

Mrs McCambridge previously told the court she saw McShane getting to his feet and lifting a glass bottle whilst facing the public gallery.

Giving evidence at Coleraine Magistrates Court yesterday, McShane said allegations made by Mr McKillop that he put his forehead into his and told him to "keep running" were "totally untrue".

Instead, he claimed Mr McKillop went into his path and nudged him with his elbow.

He repeatedly denied lifting a bottle or making any threats.

Last night, the councillor described the court decision as "unreasonable" and said he will appeal "various aspects of the case".

"This is the lowest charge in the lowest court in the land," he said.

"I am unconcerned as I will be using the appeal mechanism.

"I fully expected the judgment at this low court, but expect a better outcome at this county court appeal."

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