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Saturday 17 March 2018

Wolfe Tones fan fined over march music

Eamonn MacDermott

A 27-year-old man was yesterday sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, for playing the Wolfe Tones loudly on his car stereo while driving past supporters of a Twelfth parade in Derry last July.

Sean Johnson, of Hollymount Park in Derry, admitted behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace and disorderly behaviour on July 13 last year when the main Orange Order march was taking place in the city.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that at around 4.10pm police who were on parade duty heard republican music coming from a car being driven up Spencer Road, where there were about 20 to 30 march supporters.

They indicated for the car to stop but the driver, Johnson, laughed and drove on.

The vehicle was stopped further up the road and Johnson was spoken to by the police.

The court was told that he became abusive and when an officer went to grab his arm he pulled away then struggled with police when they went to arrest him.

Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said it was a case where discretion would have been the better part of valour.

The district judge, Barney McElholm, said that if there was such a thing as a good time and a good place to play the Wolfe Tones it was not driving up Spencer Road during a Twelfth march. He said that it was a "seriously stupid action" and added that Johnson would need to change his attitude.

Sentencing Johnson to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and fining him £250 (€275), Judge McElholm said it was a forlorn hope to think that anyone who goes around playing the Wolfe Tones all day could ever have sense talked into them as their senses had probably been hammered into submission.

Irish Independent

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