Men charged in connection with Creggan disorder

A judge has said there are no areas of Derry ‘which are not subject to law and order and police officers carrying out a legitimate policing operation do not need community activists involving themselves in the operation’.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 2:09 pm
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall made the comment as two men appeared in court charged in connection with disorder in Creggan after police set up cordons in the area.

Jude McCrory, 23, of Magowan Park, is charged with disorderly behaviour, assaulting police and obstructing police on March 18.

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Gearoid Peter Cavanagh, of Elmwood Terrace, is accused of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a cup, and assaulting police on the same date.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard that police established cordons in the Ballymagowan Gardens area of Creggan at around 6:16am on the date in question

An investigating officer said that a ‘number of hostile people gathered, trying to disrupt the operation’.

The officer told the court that McCrory approached the cordon tape several times, was verbally abusive and swore at police.

It is further alleged the 23-year-old attempted to move inside the cordon and pushed and kicked an officer who tried to move him back.

Cavanagh alllegedly attempted to throw the contents of his cup at police.

The 32-year-old is further accused of punching an inspector to the head, knocking his glasses and hat off.

The court heard that the officer struck Cavanagh with his baton suring a scuffle, resulting in him being taken to hospital.

Opposing bail, the officer told he court that every time police conduct an operation in Creggan there is a ‘large amount of public disorder’.

She said that police suspect McCrory is ‘involved in organising this’ and have concerns both defendants may commit further offences.

Under cross-examination by defence solicitor Derwin Harvey, the investigating officer said she was not aware of any allegations regarding police conduct during the operation.

She also told Mr Harvey she was unaware of a statement expressing the concerns of a local politician that police were ‘heavy handed’ during the operation.

Mr Harvey told the court that his clients consider themselves to be community activists and during lockdown have been instrumental in delivering food and home heating oil to the local community.

He added that McCrory accepts he was there and was voicing his opinion to police about the operation, but denies the offences.

The solicitor also told the court that Cavanagh sustained an injury to his head which required eight stitches.

Deputy District Judge Marshall released both men on bail to reside at an address approved by police.

McCrory and Cavanagh are banned from having any contact with each other. They are also prohibited from entering Creggan and from going within 200m of a police operation.

They will appear in court again on April 15.