Northern Ireland

Man in court over attempted murder of police officer

A man has appeared in court charged with attempting to murder a police officer in north Belfast on 12 July.

Mark Jason Blaney, 30, from Alliance Close, is accused of attacking an officer with a sword during a riot on the Woodvale Road.

He is also charged with having an offensive weapon and riotous behaviour.

Bail was refused and the accused is due to appear in court again on 5 September.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard that when police put the charges to him, the accused said: "I didn't intend to harm anybody. I'm sorry. I apologise."

The prosecution said the accused had admitted receiving a text message arranging a meeting where swords and flags were handed out.

But a defence lawyer said this text message just referred to a meeting of an Orange lodge.

The police objected to bail because they said there was a risk he would commit more offences.

Mr Blaney's solicitor said the accused was "under no illusions about the consequences of his actions", but pointed out that the accused had a full-time job and three young children, and argued that the court could manage the risk of re-offending.

The district judge said that, given the context of the allegations and that there were more contentious parades to come, she was refusing bail.