Friday 28th of August 2015
Two Derry men who shouted sectarian abuse at a Salvation Army parade in the city were told by a judge that they were 'not just bigots but stupid bigots'.
Stephen O'Reilly, 20, of Bloomfield Park in Galliagh, was charged with disorderly behaviour, assaulting and resisting police on June 6.
Lee Coyle, 19, also from Bloomfield Park, was charged with similar offences on the same date.
Derry Magistrates Court was today told that a Salvation Army parade was taking place in the Diamond area of the city and Coyle was seen standing in the middle of the road shouting 'Orange b------s'.
He refused to move on and police tried to reason with him but he pushed a female officer in the chest and struggled with police.
As regards O'Reilly, the court was told that the band of the Salvation Army was forced to cut short their performance due to the defendant's behaviour.
He was trying to assault members of the band and was shouting sectarian abuse such as 'Orange b------s'.
He also shouted 'F--k the PSNI'.
The court was told there was a large crowd of shoppers in the area and O'Reilly continued to shout and swear at police.
Defence barrister for O'Reilly, Eoghain Devlin , said it was hard to think of another incidence of such 'ignorance and stupidity’.
He said the court was 'not only dealing with two stupid individuals but two who had not taken the time to notice the make-up of our society.'
He said on the day in question O'Reilly for reasons known only to himself had stopped taking his medication and taken alcohol.
Stephen Mooney, counsel for Coyle, said it was 'drunken, obnoxious behaviour' and said that the Salvation Army made for a very soft target.
He said the incident was 'unpleasant for shoppers' who were in the area at the time.
District Judge Barney McElholm said the Salvation Army do 'tremendous good' for both sides of the community and would help anyone in need.
He went on: "The idea that good people like that were subjected to this gross, vile, sectarian abuse should fill anyone with horror."
He told both men that they deserved to go straight to prison.
He adjourned the case until November 30 and told both men that if they did not come in to court on that date with £250 each for the Salvation Army they were going to prison.