Ten local men convicted last April of taking part in an illegal Easter Monday republican parade in the last year this week lost their appeals against their convictions at Derry County Court.All ten were appealing against both the convictions and against fines of £750 imposed on each of them.
Judge Philip Babington said while he was upholding the convictions, he was reducing the fine of £750 imposed on each of them to £500. The appellants had been convicted at the city's Magistrate's Court last April of taking part in an unnotified republican parade in the Creggan area of Derry on Easter Monday, April 2, last year.At this week's appeal hearing, two police officers told Judge Babington that between them they recognised each of the ten appellants and they gave details of the clothing worn by them during the illegal parade.
The officers said they recognised the appellants, some of whom were in a colour party, from CCTV footage recorded by police.
They also said they both had personal experience of dealing with the ten appellants in the past.A barrister for the Public Prosecution Service told Judge Babington several days before the parade, police officers called to the office of Junior McDaid House in Chamberlain Street. No one was in the office and a police inspector left a letter which stated the parade had not been notified to the Parades Commission in accordance with the relevant legislation.The prosecutor said the same officer went to the Creggan area of the city on the day of the parade and used a loud speaker to inform those parading that the parade was illegal and that they were subject to prosecution.Defence barrister, Eoghan Devlin, said he was not disputing the police evidence. However, he submitted tthe fine of £750 imposed on each of the appellants was "a heavy price for someone to pay if they had carried out the proper administration before the parade. They took part in the parade without dotting the eyes and without crossing the t's. Another Judge in another Magistrate's Court in a similar type of case imposed a conditional discharge".Judge Babington said by appealing both the convictions and fines, the appellants had made the prosecution prove the case."They have been convicted of taking part in an illegal procession. I am satisfied they did that. I am satisfied the police did their best to try to prevent the illegal parade from taking place in that they reminded the applicants it was not a notified parade."I am satisfied the appellants knew exactly what they were doing.
“Having said that, I am also satisfied that the march or parade was completely peaceful although there was some disorder on the streets which the appellants were not involved in.
“All of this could have been avoided if they had simply submitted notification to the Parades Commission." he said.The ten appellants were Thomas Ashe Mellon, 43, from Rathmore Road, Gary Hayden, 47, from Tyrconnell Street, William McDonnell, 33, from Harvey Street, Paul McIntyre, 52, from Ballymagowan Park, Joseph Barr, 31, from Sackville Court, Patrick Mellon, 27, from John Field Place, John Patrick Nash, 66, from Fergleen Park, Geroid Cavanagh, 31, from Northland Road, Jason Ceulemans, whose age was not given, from Long Tower Court and Christopher O'Kane, 46, from Iniscarn Road.
All ten have been given six months to pay their fines.
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