Waving the Fleg

According to today’s News Letter, two men from Belfast and Lisburn have been charged with waving a flag in a provocative manner.

Christopher Maxwell, 38, from Centenary House in Belfast and 37-year old Fintan Jude Geraghty from Ivy Hill in Lisburn were both charged with doing the provocative act – namely waving a flag – on Tuesday night.

Waving a piece of printed cloth, however gracelessly, is a perfectly legitimate expression of national pride. It is a right exercised annually by tens of thousands of Orangemen on the Twelfth. Maxwell and Geraghty were well within their rights to do so.

Although no details of the alleged offence emerged during Wednesday’s brief hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court, it is understood the pair are accused of waving a tricolour at the loyalist camp at Twaddell Avenue from a car.

That the victims of this terrible crime happen to be fellow clothwavers appears to be of no consequence.

In addition to the provocation charge, Maxwell faces a further three motoring offences – namely driving dangerously on the Crumlin Road, driving with no insurance and driving without a licence.

The tacking on of unrelated driving charges is to remove any doubt that Maxwell and Geraghty might be decent, law-abiding citizens. This is a common tactic used by journalists to make otherwise ridiculous charges seem justifiable.

Turning asshats into unwitting free speech martyrs is fast becoming a cause worthy of prosecution. Kudos to the News Letter for making clear why these two asshats deserve all they get.


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