A MEMBER of a dissident republican group who wrapped her legs around her 10-year-old son to stop police officers searching him for a mobile phone has been convicted of disorderly behaviour.
Alicia Mackey, was stopped by police after she was accused of taking a photograph of them on a mobile phone during last year’s G8 in Enniskillen.
The 34-year-old shouted and swore at police and laughed as her young son spat at a officer during the altercation.
Mackey, who is a member of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and lives in Glendore Wood, Omagh pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour when she appeared at Fermanagh court.
A prosecutor explained that on June 16, 2013, police were carrying out their duties with the G8 in Enniskillen. The court was told that the officers had cause to stop a car in which Mackey was travelling in.
As they spoke to the defendant they received a radio message that Mackey was seen by another officer using a mobile phone to take a photo of officers through the open rear doors of a police vehicle.
The officers at time asked the defendant and another passenger if the phone was used, however both parties denied this.
Officers told the pair that a search for the phone would be carried out under the terrorism act. However, their vehicle was locked at that time and an officer explained the powers of the search.
They carried out the search of the defendant, the man and the car but nothing was found. Officers then suspected the mobile phone may have been passed to her 10-year-old son who was in the back seat, but Mackey refused to allow the officers to search the child.
They suggested to carry out a gentle pat-down search, but the accused told officers that a social worker would have to be present in such circumstances.
The court heard that the search would have been carried out in the rear of the car to prevent any members of the public being able to see what was happening.
But the defendant refused to allow the pat-down search. As officers went to carry out the search the defendant pushed a sergeant out of her way, a struggle ensued which resulted in the officer cutting her finger causing it to bleed.
Mackey then wrapped her legs around her son to stop the officer from carrying out the search while she was shouting and swearing which officers claimed upset the boy.
Another suggestion was put forward by an officer who asked for the child’s pockets to be turned inside out, but Mackey continued to deny the child had the phone.
Again, the defendant refused and shouted at the officers which was claimed to distress the young boy. Her son then spat at an officer and the accused laughed.
A struggle between Mackey and the officers continued when the boy’s tracksuit bottoms slipped down and, the defence barrister later claimed, exposed his underwear.
At this point the officers decided to stop the search and noted that the defendant was standing beside the car laughing and joking. Mackey was told she would be reported over the incident.
The following day, as the G8 continued, the same police officers were on duty during a protest parade. They spotted the defendant at the parade with members of the 32 County Sovereign Movement.
When she spotted them, she was reported to have said: “That’s the paedophile there. PSNI child abusers.”
However, she was not spoken to at the time because of the crowd but was dealt with at a later date.
Defence barrister Heather Philips told the court that her client had consented to previous searches but that a problem arose when they wanted to search her son.
“They were simply driving along and there was no allegation of any driving offence or speeding and they were surrounded by the officers,” she stated.
“His mother objected to the search and he embraced his mother as he was crying and upset. There didn’t appear to be any direct contact between the officers and the child. They didn’t ask him if he had the mobile phone or ask if he could be searched. A ridiculous situation ensued where they took hold of the child at one side.
“A physical altercation between them lead to his trousers being pulled down and his underwear was exposed.”
District Judge Nigel Broderick dismissed Mackey’s charge of obstructing police after he described their actions as unreasonable and stated that the incident should have been dealt with in a police station.
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