Northern Ireland

Laser pen accused identified from photograph

A man accused of shining a laser pen at police during rioting in north Belfast was identified through a media campaign, the High Court has been told.

Stephen Boreland, 50, of Lord Street Mews, was arrested after a member of the public recognised him among photos published of suspected offenders.

Prosecutors said he was spotted at the front of crowds attacking PSNI lines in a 12-hour onslaught in September 2012,

Sixty officers were injured in violence at Carlisle Circus and Denmark Street.

The violence followed a republican parade.

Rival factions were involved in disorder that saw police come under sustained attack from heavy masonry, petrol bombs, fireworks, bottles, planks of wood and flower pots.

Mr Boreland faces charges of rioting and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

He was detained in December after images taken from CCTV footage of the suspected troublemakers appeared in the press.


A prosecution lawyer told a bail hearing: "That same day they were published police were contacted by a member of the public in response to the media appeal and the applicant was identified as one of the persons depicted."

During interviews Boreland was shown photographs that allegedly put him at the front of the disorder, targeting police lines with a laser pen.

"He was an active and prolonged participant in the rioting that occurred on September 2," the prosecution said.

"At one point he changed his clothing and disguised himself using hats."

Mr Boreland was said to have admitted being the person in the footage and to have used the laser pen to distract police, but gave no reason for his actions.

Defence counsel said his client accepted the case against him but claimed he only went to the rioting on his way home after "curiosity got the better of him".

The barrister added: "He did have this laser in his pocket which he had bought on the internet some time prior."

Mr Boreland was seeking release from custody after undergoing surgery last month for a broken wrist.

His injury is causing serious difficulties in washing and dressing that could be better coped with at home, his lawyer said.

Bail was refused, however, due to the risk of any further offending.

Mr Justice Horner said: "This rioting resulted in 60 police officers suffering physical injuries - perhaps the (wrist) injury may have brought home to the applicant the consequences of what is totally unacceptable behaviour on the public streets."