Northern Ireland

Stormont worker given suspended sentence for July disorder

A Stormont catering assistant and cross-community worker has been given a suspended sentence for throwing bottles at police during disorder on 12 July.

Marc Toye was told the three-month term was being suspended to allow him to continue working with young people at a sectarian interface in east Belfast.

Toye, 32, of Thistle Court, Belfast, was identified on CCTV footage throwing two bottles on the Newtownards Road.

He handed himself in to police after footage of the incident was released.

'Positive work'

Following Toye's guilty plea to a charge of riotous behaviour, defence counsel told Belfast Magistrates' Court it had been a brief act of senselessness.

"He got caught up in the mob mentality and has lived to regret it," he said.

"He's of the view that his employment is very much at risk, given the nature of the offence."

Character references from a number of unnamed MLAs were submitted to the court on Toye's behalf.

Another from a nationalist member of the community was said to detail the defendant's positive work in the area.

"He has shamed himself and shamed his family by this behaviour and brought himself quite literally to the doors of the cell," his barrister said.

The district judge said: "The issue for me today is whether I should allow you to continue your role in the community to stop these things happening."

Taking into account the defendant's guilty plea, and brief involvement in the trouble, the judge decided not to send him straight to jail.

Imposing a three-month sentence, suspended for two years, he said it was to give Toye a chance to convey to young people the consequences of getting caught up in rioting.