LEADING Union flag protest cheerleader Jamie Bryson is to appeal a six-month suspended prison sentence handed down today for taking part in unlawful street marches.
The father-of-one shot to prominence during a campaign against Belfast City Council’s decision in December 2012 to limit the number of days the flag flies from the city hall on designated occasions.
Following his sentence hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today, the tweeted:
“Judge tries to give me 3 months for obstructing traffic. Maximum is 1 month. Gerry Kelly gets a caution.
“Excessive sentence handed down. Now onto appeal. Judge tried to sentence me to more than the maximum. Hilarious.
“What an amazing moment for the Judiciary. Judge handed down a sentence that was more than the maximum.
“PPS had to correct her.
“Sums it all up.”
He has 28 days to lodge his appeal to the County Court of Belfast.
Bryson, of Rosepark, Donaghadee, County Down, had fought a series of charges linked to widespread demonstrations over the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.
He claimed he had been the victim of a political prosecution.
He denied four counts of participating in un-notified public processions during January and February 2013, and obstructing traffic on Belfast’s Newtownards Road.
He insisted he did not know the protests could have been unlawful.
He accepted that he featured on CCTV footage of the events, but repeatedly stressed that on each occasion, he was walking to and from the city centre as an individual.
During the trial, a prosecutor accused him of treating police who interviewed him with contempt.
The court heard he told officers questioning him about the marches that he was an Irish republican and the first minister.
He even suggesting a fictional gay relationship with fellow campaigner Willie Frazer, it was claimed.