Man jailed for throwing fireworks at Irish republican march

David McCaig's actions left a police officer with burns and hearing loss following the incident in Glasgow.

Man jailed for throwing fireworks at Irish republican march Police ScotlandSTV News

A man who launched lit fireworks at an Irish republican parade and left a police officer with burns and hearing loss has been jailed for 16 months.

Builder 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 Tuesday, 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.

Sheriff Andrew Cubie told McCaig, of Law in South Lanarkshire, that only a custodial sentence reflected the “abhorrence” of the offence.

The sheriff added: “This doesn’t appear to be a momentary loss of control, rush of blood to the head, or you lost in the moment. There was no youthful impulsivity.

“You bought the fireworks and took them into the crowd and threw them which caused an injury.

“You are old enough to know better.

“I have dealt with sectarianism in Glasgow and I repeat this isn’t about interfering with the rights of people celebrating traditions.

“This is the court’s disappointment at the deep-rooted issue of sectarianism that generates hatred and conflict in society.”

At a previous hearing, 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.

McCaig’s lawyer told the court that he apologises and recognises his actions were unacceptable.

It was also revealed that McCaig had a previous conviction for a breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice and others for domestic matters.

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