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21 November 2002 Edition

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Brophy beats trumped up charges

Charges of riotous behaviour against North Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Gerard Brophy were thrown out of a Belfast court on Wednesday 21 November after the main witness, a PSNI member, made a fool of himself.

The case was being heard in a special sitting of Belfast Magistrates Court after it had been adjourned last week due to administrative reasons.

The case was dismissed after the judge told the PSNI member, who was in the witness box for over an hour and a half, that his evidence was all over the place and that he had heard enough.

Brophy, who was accompanied by Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly as he appeared in Belfast Magistrates court on Thursday 14 November, had always described the charges against him as "trumped up and farcical".

He was charged with riotous behaviour on 21 November last year. Rioting had erupted in the North Queen Street area of North Belfast when loyalists from Tigers Bay attacked homes at the North Queen Street.

Had the case proceeded, Brophys solicitor had eight witnesses, including two SDLP councillors, to come forward and speak in the Sinn Féin man's defence.

Speaking afterwards to An Phoblacht, Brophy said: "The judge made it clear after listening to the main PSNI witness that he thought the case should never have come to court. I will be discussing this with my solicitor with a view to taking a case of malicious prosecution against the PSNI."


An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1