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Bryson protest appeal failure; Activist loses bid to overturn conviction.

Byline: ALAN ERWIN

HIGH-PROFILE flag protester Jamie Bryson has failed in a bid to overturn his conviction for taking part in illegal public processions.

Judges yesterday rejected claims the onus was wrongly shifted on to him to show he was unaware a series of demonstrations in Belfast broke the law.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan ruled: "Where the information was within the appellant's knowledge it was clearly more appropriate to place the legal burden on him.

"That burden was not arbitrary or beyond reasonable limits."

Bryson was challenging convictions for which he received a six-month suspended prison sentence.

The 25-year-old, of Rosepark in Donaghadee, Co Down, had fought charges linked to demonstrations over the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

He faced four counts of participating in un-notified public processions during January and February 2013 and obstructing traffic on the city's Newtownards Road.

At his trial last year Bryson insisted he did not know the protests could have been unlawful.

He accepted featuring on CCTV footage of the events but repeatedly stressed that each time he walked to and from the centre of Belfast as an individual.

His lawyers previously argued he faced an unjustifiable burden to prove he was oblivious to the illegal status of the marches.

But Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justice Gillen and Mrs Justice Keegan, held the issue of whether Bryson knew or suspected the parade was un-notified was "plainly within his own knowledge".

irish@mgn.co.uk

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 8, 2016
Words:255
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