Four men appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday in connection with trouble which flared in Ballymoney town centre last November including an incident when a crowd surrounded a police car and helped a man escape.
They are Rodney Robert Trevor Boreland (47), of Alexandra Avenue; James Joyce Logan (27), of Cloneen Drive; Allister Anderson (23) of Union Street and Robert Desmond William Boreland (22), of Garry Drive – all Ballymoney.
They were at court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to charges relating to the early hours of November 10 last year.
Rodney Boreland and James Logan each admitted one charge of assaulting different police officers.
Allister Anderson admitted being disorderly at Garry Drive and assaulting another police officer.
Robert Boreland admitted being disorderly behaviour at Garry Drive; obstructing a police officer and resisting another police officer in the execution of his duty.
A prosecutor said at 12.45am on November 10 police saw a large group of people at Ballymoney Main Street and the crowd began chanting as a PSNI vehicle passed.
When the police vehicle stopped at traffic lights a male they said was Robert Boreland threw a glass which smashed near the PSNI car.
It was alleged Robert Boreland was shouting “black b*stards” and took off his shirt.
When police returned to the area some of the crowd were blocking the road and bins had been tipped on their sides and rubbish had fallen out.
Robert Boreland, who by this stage had put his shirt on backwards, according to the prosecutor, was placed in a police car but a number of “hostile” males opened the rear door and let the defendant out and Robert Boreland made off.
As police searched for him they went to the Glebe estate in Ballymoney and when they spotted the defendant sitting in the living room of a house Robert Boreland’s father Rodney Boreland then attempted to stop an officer removing his son from the property.
The prosecutor said ten males led by Anderson approached outside and Anderson was throwing stones and shouting “foul and threatening language”.
Two unidentified males attacked a police officer who was able to get back to his feet and warn the group with his baton.
Anderson then got into a struggle with the officer whilst attempting to grab the baton but was subdued with the assistance of other police officers.
A short time later at The Crescent area Logan was verbally abusive to police saying: “What are you black b*stards doing here?” and he added: “This is Northern Ireland, I can say whatever I like”.
Logan then assaulted a police officer.
The court heard that during a police interview Anderson said he had been at a bar and had two bottles of Buckfast and ten pints of beer and said after hearing something was happening he had gone to the Glebe “for a nosy”.
He denied throwing stones but accepted he was shouting and that he had attempted to grab the baton.
Robert Boreland told police he had been at Main Street but denied throwing a glass and confirmed that after the police car door was opened he fled.
He accepted he had shouted and struggled when when being taken from a house.
A defence barrister for the Borelands said it had all started out as a “relatively minor matter” which may have been handled differently by the police.
He said the police activity had led to the “denizens of The Glebe” feeling aggrieved at the way things had been handled and they “came forward and made ill-informed representations” to the PSNI.
The lawyer said the Borelands “sincerely regretted” their behaviour.
A defence lawyer for the other two defendants said Anderson was so-appalled by his behaviour on the night in question he is now off drink.
District Judge Peter King said he was prepared to accept the incidents had been a “drunken misapprehension of the events on the ground”.
He said events could have escalated much more widely with more defendants in court.
Rodney Boreland, Anderson and Logan were each ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and Robert Boreland was ordered to do 80 hours.