Ballyclare rioting accused in court

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Five men accused of rioting and other offences are to stand trial over the trouble which broke out in Ballyclare last summer.

Cars were burnt out and petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown at police during the July disorder.

A number of police officers were also injured during the trouble.

The disruption flared after loyalist flags around the Church of the Sacred Heart were taken down by police before the Twelfth of July.

Appearing at Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday (May 2) for preliminary enquiry proceedings were Ryan Charnley, 24, of Clareville Park, Ballyclare; Chris Colhoun, 21, from Douglas Land, Burnside; Ronald Cowan, 55, of Lindara Drive, Larne; Mark Graham, 23, of Islay Street, Antrim; and James Steele, 30, from Ballycorr Green, Ballyclare.

All five are charged with riotous assembly between 8-11 July last year.

Charnley and Cowan are also both accused of criminal damage to a woman’s Suzuki Alto vehicle.

Each of the defendants declined to give any evidence or call witnesses at this stage of the proceedings.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall accepted a prosecution case that there was a prima facie case to answer.

She ordered that the five accused should all be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

Each defendant was released on continuing bail until that hearing gets under way.