Alleged riot instigator in court

THE man who police allege was the main instigator of the riot in Yamba fronted court yesterday dressed only in a small white towel.

Craig Jeremy McNeil, 50, of Yamba, appeared at a bail court hearing in Grafton yesterday and was formally charged with incite to assault police in the execution of their duty; rioting; damaging property by fire (more than $15,000 value); escape from police custody; and destroying or damaging property.

Police prosecutor Sgt Chris Tuite said the matters were very serious and if McNeil was found guilty it was likely he would face a jail sentence. He said police would allege McNeil’s actions were that of the inciter and precipitator.

McNeil, a self-employed handyman who has resided in Yamba for 10 years, appeared unrepresented.

Also facing court were Glen Leigh Ayres, 22, of Maclean; Robert Douglas Harvey, 20, of Yamba; and Douglas Pearce, 19, also of Yamba.

Ayres was charged with incite to assault police; aiding a person to escape custody; destroying or damaging property; rioting; and damaging property by fire.

Harvey and Pearce each faced charges of inciting to assault a police officer; rioting; damaging property worth more than $15,000 by fire; and destroying and damaging property.

All four men were refused bail and ordered to appear in court again in Grafton this morning.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Wooloweyah man, two 19-year-old Yamba men, an 18-year-old Woombah man, a 17-year-old Yamba boy, 17-year-old Woolgoolga girl, two 16-year-old Yamba girls and a 16-year-old Maclean girl have each been charged with riot and malicious damage offences.

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