Irishman tags himself in riot photos on Facebook, gets two years jail

Irish man tags himself in Facebook photos of him taking part in a riot, gets promptly arrested

Robert Darragh, a 21-year-old from the Shankill area of Belfast, was recently arrested for tagging himself on Facebook in photos that showed him participating in a clash between nationalists and unionists during the Loyalist march in Northern Ireland last year.

The judge convicted Darragh on the charge of rioting after the suspect participated in last year’s Orange Walk parades that took place in Belfast on July 13, 2015.

The disturbances were sparked after the Northern Irish Parade Commission refused to allow a Loyalist flute band to march past nationalist Ardoyne shop fronts on July 13. During the disturbance, 29 police officers were injured as they were pelted with bricks, bottles and other missiles.

Belfast Crown Court heard that during the disturbance, Darragh kept his face covered to avoid detection and so could not be identified from CCTV footage, Belfast Live reports. However, he was seen sitting on a wall with his face exposed earlier in the day.

CCTV coverage also showed Darragh was in the area for around an hour and a half that evening, and ‘on numerous occasions’ he was observed throwing items at police lines.

After the clash finally settled down, the police went on Facebook to search for photos from the riots, to see if they could identify any suspects. Apparently, Darragh had spotted himself in some of the riot photos, and went ahead and tagged himself. So, the police clicked on the tags, that took them to his profile, and they used the info to track him down and arrest him.

He was subsequently arrested and admitted one charge of participating in the riot. He has been given a two year prison sentence.

Defense counsel Michael Boyd said Darragh ‘does not have a sectarian bone in his body’, but had ‘allowed himself to get caught up with a group of people he knew’, according to Belfast Live.

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