Northern Ireland news

Man fined for throwing bricks at police vehicle

A JUDGE has described as "thuggery" the actions of a man who admitted throwing two large bricks at a police vehicle during rioting.

Stephen Benson (26) of Rathkeele Way in Derry was fined £750 after admitting a charge of criminal damage.

A charge of riotous behaviour against Benson was withdrawn before today's hearing.

The court heard that from 6am until 6pm on March 18 police were engaged in an operation in the Ballymagowan Gardens area in Derry's Creggan.

A large crowd gathered and police came under attack. During the incident Benson was seen throwing the bricks at the police vehicle.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said that his client was arrested in September and made immediate admissions.

He said that Benson had "not covered himself in glory" and District Judge Barney McElholm commented that his attitude was stinking and asked 'who does he think he is?'

Mr MacDermott said the offences were "nasty in themselves" but added that Benson had got caught up in the situation.

He said his client had been out for St Patrick's Day and had been returning home intoxicated and had not set out to get involved in anything.

The solicitor said that questions could be asked as to why the PSNI picked that date to carry out the operation.

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