Man made a one-fingered gesture at passing bands during loyalist parade

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A man shouted abuse and made a one-fingered gesture at passing bands and to police as well as pointing towards an Irish Tricolour flying at Rasharkin’s Main Street during a July 12 loyalist parade, a court has heard.

Mickey O’Kane (46), of Carnfinton Park in the County Antrim village, pleaded guilty to being disorderly when he appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on March 20.

A prosecutor said a return feeder parade was taking place around 6.25pm on July 12 last year in Rasharkin and as it passed a shop police observed O’Kane was drunk and he was being disorderly.

Defence barrister Thomas McKeever said his client was in breach of three suspended sentences but said the offending on the date in question was at the “lower end of the scale” and claimed that at its height it was gesturing towards police.

District Judge Liam McNally said O’Kane was in a “pretty difficult situation” given that he had given him “three chances” before.

However, Mr McKeever said there was a “very positive letter” from the charity Extern and he felt the defendant could benefit from Probation. The barrister said O’Kane accepted his full culpability and has been engaging with his GP and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Judge McNally said O’Kane never had Probation before and a Probation officer’s view was that would be of benefit although he said he remained to be convinced that would be the case.

Judge McNally said he would defer sentence for a year and said the only reason he was not jailing O’Kane was to see if he could engage with Probation and keep out of trouble but warned if there is any failure he will be starting with six months in jail.