Firework thrown at march cost police officer his hearing

David McCaig, 33, threw the lit firework at a republican march.

A man who launched lit fireworks at an Irish republican parade left a police officer with burns and hearing loss.

David McCaig, 33, who was part of a large group of loyalist protesters, planned the attack in advance at Glasgow’s Broomielaw last September.

He hurled two fireworks at the marchers. One of them bounced off a vehicle and injured PC David Brown, causing him 60% hearing loss and burns.

He has now been fitted with a hearing aid and struggles to sleep at night.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Wednesday, builder McCaig pleaded guilty to culpable and reckless conduct by injuring PC Brown to his severe injury and permanent impairment. The offence was aggravated by religious prejudice.

The court heard officers conducted a “large-scale public order operation” that day because of trouble the week before in the city’s Govan area during another Republican parade.

Police separated the marchers and around 100 to 150 loyalist protesters near the King George V Bridge.

Prosecutor Graham Macdonald told the court McCaig was spotted throwing the two fireworks.

PC Brown, 42, who had 14 years’ service, suffered burns to his right shoulder, ringing in his right ear and blurring to his right eye.

McCaig was later snared after his distinctive orange top and blue shorts were identified from footage of the incident.

Officers raided his home to find fireworks in his shed and two boxes of smoke bombs in his living room.

His phone was also seized which uncovered a conversation on Instagram which revealed he had bought the fireworks days prior for £236.

McCaig chased up his order with the seller, asking if he’d ordered a “rocket launcher”.

Mr Macdonald told the court as of January this year PC Brown continues to have problems with tinnitus and trouble sleeping.

He was fitted with a hearing aid, but was told his loss of hearing will be permanent.

PC Brown now struggles with PTSD, stress and anxiety but has since returned to work in a training role.

Sentence was deferred for background reports by Sheriff Andrew Cubie until next month.

He told McCaig: “This is a very serious matter, Glasgow city centre is disfigured by sectarianism.

“It’s plain this wasn’t some heat of the moment opportunistic thing, you ordered and bought fireworks in advance of this and then threw them.

“This caused permanent disfigurement to a police officer simply doing his job to make Glasgow city centre safe for people who want to go about their day in a civilised way.”

McCaig, of Law, South Lanarkshire, was remanded in custody meantime.

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