‘30 witnesses’ in McShane case

Copyright Kevin McAuley

Padraig McShane
Copyright Kevin McAuley Padraig McShane

A Court has heard a defence lawyer for Ballycastle Independent councillor Padraig McShane claim there are 30 witnesses involved after he was charged in connection with a controversial Orange Order parade through the town on July 12 this year.

The 44-year-old was first in court last month in connection with the case and back at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday amendments were made to the charges he faces.

Originally he faced four charges including ‘making insulting and threatening comments to persons participating in a parade with intent to provoke a breach of the peace’ but that has now been withdrawn.

One of the other original charges has been amended and two fresh charges have been laid against the councillor who was in the dock as a prosecutor outlined the changes,

The councillor now faces five charges including allegedly assaulting and resisting the same police officer.

It is also alleged he ‘organised’ an un-notified ‘protest meeting’.

The new charges are that he was disorderly at The Diamond in Ballycastle and that he took part in an un-notified protest at another part of Ballycastle - Altananam Park - on July 12. McShane sits on Coleraine-based Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council.

A defence lawyer told the court on Monday there are 30 witnesses in the case and “quite voluminous CCTV”.

The lawyer said there are a “number of issues still to be explored” including with the Police Ombudsman’s office.

The defence lawyer asked for a disorderly behaviour conviction to be taken off the councillor’s criminal record as that had been quashed.

That was a reference to an incident in which the accused councillor had a disorderly behaviour conviction quashed.

He was found guilty last year of threatening a TUV councillor’s husband with a water bottle during a council meeting in Ballycastle in December 2012.

However, in September the conviction was overturned at the High Court.

When the councillor first appeared at Coleraine Court in October in relation to the July 12 allegations a defence lawyer told the court there was a number of Police Ombudsman investigations, two from his client and one from himself.

The lawyer said there had been”pre-action proceedings” served on the PSNI.

‘The Twelfth’ is held in Ballycastle, which has a Catholic majority, every five years.

After July 12 this year, video footage appeared showing the Councillor McShane present on the route of an Orange Order parade in Ballycastle.

Members of a loyalist flute band, Dervock Young Defenders, were also in the video.

The footage captured at the time showed blood from an apparent head wound as McShane was led away in handcuffs by police.