Twelfth riot trial goes ahead

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A LURGAN man is one of nine people set to stand trial accused of being involved in Twelfth of July rioting in Belfast last year, a judge has ruled.

Charges were brought against the suspects following serious street disorder in the north of the city, Belfast Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday.

Twenty police officers were injured in wider clashes surrounding a contentious Orange Order parade and counter-demonstration by nationalist residents.

Petrol bombs, fireworks and other missiles were thrown as violence flared among hundreds of people on both sides of the sectarian divide.

Ten gunshots were also fired at police from a semi-automatic rifle.

Appearing in court for a preliminary enquiry was Pearse Toman, 25, from Garland Crescent in Lurgan.

Also in court were Martin Faulkner, 41, from the Antrim Road; Paul Faulkner, 31, of Queens Parade; Brian Gavin, 19, of Woodside Park, Dunmurry; Colin Loughlin, 21, from Filbert Drive, Dunmurry; Christopher McDonnell, 23, of Wyndham Street; Daniel Neill, 20, from Newington Street; Christopher Stitt, 23, of Carrick Hill; and Liam Thompson, 25, from Cliftonville Avenue - all in Belfast.

Each of them faces a charge of riotous assembly on 12 July last year.

Toman is alleged to have thrown a petrol bomb.

Each of the accused spoke to confirm they understood the charges against them. They all declined to call witnesses or give evidence at this stage in proceedings.

District Judge Harry McKibbin back a prosecution submission that the suspects all have a prima facie case to answer.

He granted an application for the men to be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

They were all released on continuing bail until that hearing gets underway.