Northern Ireland

Jamie Bryson: Loyalist's flag protest conviction appeal fails

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Jamie Bryson addressing the crowd at a flag protest outside Belfast City Hall

A loyalist flag protestor has failed in a bid to overturn his conviction for taking part in illegal public processions.

Jamie Bryson, from Donaghadee in County Down, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for taking part in unlawful public processions.

Bryson argued that a requirement to prove he did not know the protests were illegal was wrongly placed upon him

But the judge said it was "appropriate" to place the burden of proof on him.

"That burden was not arbitrary or beyond reasonable limits," Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said.

Bryson, 25, of Rosepark, had insisted he did not know the protests could have been unlawful, and claimed he was the victim of a political prosecution.

He accepted featuring on CCTV footage of the events, but repeatedly stressed that each time he walked to and from the centre of Belfast as an individual.

During the the initial case, prosecution counsel had accused him of treating police who interviewed him with contempt.

The court heard Bryson told officers quizzing him about the marches that he was an Irish republican and the first minister.

He even suggested a fictional gay relationship with fellow campaigner Willie Frazer, it was claimed.

In the Court of Appeal Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justice Gillen and Mrs Justice Keegan, held that the issue of whether Bryson knew or suspected the parade was illegal was "plainly within his own knowledge".

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