Through the spring and summer of 2005 there were numerous outbreaks of public disorder in Northern Ireland: including clashes between supporters of Glentoran and Linfield at the Oval in April, clashes between Loyalists and Nationalists in North Belfast following the final games of the Scottish football season in May, an attack on marchers and supporters at the Tour of the North parade in June, attacks on the police by Nationalist youths at the Ardoyne on the Twelfth of July, attacks by Loyalists on the police following searches of the Shankill area in August and severe rioting in West Belfast following the re-routed Whiterock Orange Order parade in September. On each of these occasions the press reported the violence but also acknowledged any cases where people were arrested and charged with public order offences. The media also frequently reported subsequent appearances in court by those charged in the days following the disorder. However, in general such reports only notes that an individual had been charged with a particular offence and, depending on the seriousness of the charge, is due to appear in court, is bailed to appear at a later date or is remanded in custody for a subsequent court appearance. Only rarely do the media report on the eventual outcomes of such cases. In fact attention is rarely paid to the sentences that are handed down by the courts for those convicted of public order offences.
Institute for Conflict Research
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