Limavady man jailed for flag protest offences

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A 54-year-old Limavady man has been jailed for four months after he was convicted of assaulting and resisting police at a Limavady flags protest.

William James Young, with an address at Thiepval Court in Limavady was found guilty of three counts of assault on police and one count of resisting police on December 18, 2012.

Young had contested the charges last week, but District Judge Paul Copeland ruled he was guilty of the charges on Wednesday at Limavady Magistrate’s Court. Young had previously pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly behaviour. All charges relate to Young’s attendance at a flags protest outside Limavady Council offices on that date.

Sentencing Young, Judge Copeland said people have a legitimate right to protest, but said when behaviour descends into violent criminality and police are subjected to violent assault and attack, people need to realise there will be consequences to such behaviour. Judge Copeland said a female sergeant and officers were confronted and resisted by Young when they moved to arrest him for being disorderly, and said the female sergeant sustained an injury as a result of what he branded a “deliberate and forceful assault” when she was struck in the face.

“Those who break the law in this manner will not be tolerated by police, the community or the courts,” said Judge Copeland, “and there will be consequences, particularly when police are punched and beaten.”

Young was sentenced to four months in jail for each offence, all to run concurrently.

Young had a number of supporters at court on Wednesday and was described by his defence counsel as well known in the area, and as a “character”