Northern Ireland

Ardoyne rioters 'attacked officers' legs'

Overnight riots in Ardoyne
Image caption Dozens of police officers were injured during rioting in the Ardoyne area

Many police officers were attacked around the lower body, legs and feet during rioting in Belfast's Ardoyne area in July, a court has been told.

The details emerged during a bail application by 27-year-old William Moore, of Thorndale Avenue, Belfast.

A crown lawyer claimed he had a primary role in the disorder, with photographs and video evidence allegedly showing him attacking police lines.

She said: "He denied it was him on the video footage, saying it was Elvis."

The crown lawyer said as police officers held their shields in front of them during the trouble, rioters targeted the unprotected lower parts of their bodies.

Nearly 50 police officers were injured during three nights of rioting starting on 12 July, with 75 petrol bombs thrown at police by mobs who attacked with poles, planks of wood and bricks.

A total of 74 baton rounds were fired by police in response.

Mr Moore, who is originally from the Republic of Ireland, was arrested in August and is one of only three accused to still be in custody, the court heard.

More than 20 suspects are due to appear for a preliminary hearing later this month to establish whether they will stand trial.

Trouble erupted when a disputed Orange Order parade passed shopfronts in the area.

The court was told police moved in on the Twelfth afternoon to clear sit-down protesters who were blocking the Crumlin Road.

"Officers started being attacked by the main crowd of approximately 300 people in number," the prosecuting barrister said, adding the trouble continued into the night.

Paul McAlinden, defending, argued that Mr Moore should be granted bail because so many co-accused have been released.

He disputed prosecution claims that the accused played a key role in the violence, pointing out there was no evidence that he threw any petrol bombs.

Mr McAlinden said: "He will argue that he came along when the riot had started.

"His evidence is going to be that he came along as a peaceful protestor and nothing else."

But refusing the bail application, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan ruled there was a risk of further offences being committed.

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