A 22-year-old Carrickfergus man who can barely remember rioting after consuming a mixture of Buckfast, crystal meth and cocaine, has been handed a prison sentence.
Glenn Reynolds admitted a charge of rioting in the flashpoint Twaddell Avenue area of north Belfast on July 13 last year.
After watching footage of the riot, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC handed Reynolds a sentence of three years and four months.
Reynolds will spend 20 months in prison, with the remaining time spent on supervised licence.
Reynolds, from Ellis Street in the Co Antrim town, was captured on police CCTV throwing around 10 items at police lines during the riot, which broke out following a Parades Commission determination banning an Orange lodge from returning past the nationalist Ardoyne shop fronts area.
Around 25 police officers were injured after police lines were pelted with masonry, bricks, bottles and other items.
Prosecuting counsel Philip Henry told Belfast Crown Court that Reynolds was present at the riot “in excess of two hours”, during which he threw between nine and 10 missiles – including bottles and bricks – at police.
In January police released still images of people they wanted to speak to in connect with the riot, which led to Reynolds being identified.
Mr Henry said that when officers called to his home, there was “an attempt to frustrate the arrest, which was not successful”. He also asked police “is this about the photograph that looks like me?”.
When footage of the riot was played to Reynolds, he initially denied it was him, but accepted the man in the footage was similar. However, he subsequently admitted the charge of rioting.
Mr Henry also revealed that Reynolds came before the court with no previous criminal convictions.
Defence barrister Michael Boyd handed the judge a letter written by Reynolds, which detailed how embarrassed and ashamed he was to become involved in the riot.
Telling the court his client “has no sectarian attitudes”, Mr Boyd said Reynolds could barely remember what happened due to his alcohol and drug intake, but rather “he allowed himself to be carried away on a wave of complete disorder”.
Mr Boyd said Reynolds has accepted his behaviour on the day in question was “utterly, utterly disgraceful”, adding “it is not something which he is proud of”.
The defence barrister also revealed that since the offence, Reynolds turned to drink and drugs which in turn led to him receiving a beating by local paramilitaries.
Sentencing Reynolds, Judge Miller spoke of the injuries inflicted on officers during the riot.
Telling the court he accepted Reynolds’ remorse and shame was genuine, the judge also revealed Reynolds’ desire both to address his alcohol abuse, and to involve himself in cross-community work.