Playing the Wolfe Tones lands Derryman suspended sentence

A 27-year-old Derryman was today sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 18 months for playing the Wolfe Tones loudly on his car stereo while driving past supporters of a Twelfth parade in Derry last July.

Sean Johnson of Hollymount Park in Derry admitted behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace and disorderly behaviour on July 13 last year when the main Orange Order march was taking place in the city.

The court heard that around 4.10 p.m. police on parade duty heard republican music coming from a car being driven up Spencer Road where there were about twenty to thirty march supporters gathered.

The indicated for the car to stop but the driver, Johnson, laughed and drove on. The vehicle was stopped further up the road and Johnson was spoken to.

The court was told that he became abusive and when an officer went to grab his arm he pulled away then struggled with police when they went to arrest him.

A defence barrister Mr. Eoghan Devlin said it was a case where discretion would have been the better part of valour.

The District Judge, Mr. Barney McElholm said that if there was such a thing as a good time and a good place to play the Wolfe Tones it was not driving up Spencer Road during a Twelfth march.

He said it was a 'seriously stupid action' and added that Johnson would need to change his attitude.
Sentencing Johnson to three months in prison suspended for 18 months and fining him £250

Mr. McElholm said it was a forlorn hope to think that anyone who goes round playing the Wolfe Tones all day could ever have sense talked into them as their senses had probably been hammered into submission.