Former mayor fined for press punch

Desmond Stewart, a former DUP mayor of Coleraine, has been fined £300 after punching a Press Association photographer last October.

Mr Stewart was told by Antrim Magistrates Court that he would have to pay up after striking snapper Niall Carson outside its doors when he was attending his sentencing for six charges of fraud relating to the 2005 elections.

The best solicitor in Northern Ireland could not have got the disgraced mayor cleared of the charges as the incident was caught on television cameras by news journalists.

As the 57-year-old from Portrush was convicted of the assault, defence lawyers said that Mr Stewart's life had been "in tatters" when the incident happened and that he "deeply regretted his actions".

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