Video: Councillor Padraig McShane found guilty of assault on police

Paigraic Mc Shane arrives at Ballymena Magistrates Court. Picture by Mark Jamieson.

A CO Antrim councillor who was arrested during an Orange Order parade in Ballycastle has been found guilty of an assault on police.

Padraig McShane, who sits as an Independent on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, appeared today at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The 45 year-old of Beechwood Avenue in Ballycastle was arrested on 12 July last year.

Mr McShane was also found guilty of disorderly behaviour and taking part in an un-notified parade.

He had denied the charges and had previously contested the case but was found guilty by District Judge Peter King.

Judge King said the background to the case was "depressingly familiar" regarding parading and protests.

The court heard that trouble flared following a confrontation with Dervock Young Defenders and the councillor who had organised a protest on the first leg of the parade.

The judge said gestures were made towards the band and a police officer was also racially abused by an individual.

Judge King said McShane shouted towards a band and when asked to move back he swore at police. He was agitated and was warned about his behaviour.

The judge said the group was "directed" by McShane and were clearly acting in concert with the councillor who was "operating a leadership role".

The incident in Ballycastle:

Later, as the parade was returning through Ballycastle around 5.15pm the judge said that members of the Dervock Young Defenders band, who had been drinking, stopped and there were words exchanged with McShane.

The judge said McShane claimed he had been spat at and there was also a claim a "kiss" was blown in his direction and the councillor reacted.

The judge said McShane was shouting and swearing at the band and in evidence he had accepted he was "giving as good as he got".

Judge King said as police tried to calm the situation McShane "unjustifiably" directed his aggression towards the PSNI and he shoved a constable in the chest and then ended up on the ground with two sets of handcuffs needed to restrain him and he kicked out.

A co-accused, Donal James Martin (46), of Ramoan Court, Ballycastle, was fined £200 for taking part in the unnotified protest.

Another co-accused, Joseph John Donaghy (50), of Altananam Park, Ballycastle, also fined £200 for the same offence.

A parade participant - William Thomas Smyth (52), of Queens Court, Coleraine - was fined £150 for disorderly behaviour.

Sentencing has been adjourned until June 14.

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