Seventeen members of a loyalist band have been cleared of defying a ban on them marching past a Catholic Church in Belfast.

The judge said the prosecution had not proved that the bandsmen knew about the ban.

Members of the Shankill Road based Young Conway Volunteers flute band had been prohibited from marching past St Patrick's Catholic Church in Belfast city centre during a loyalist parade in August 2012.

The ban was imposed by the Parades Commission after they were filmed walking in circles outside the church a month earlier.

A lawyer for the bandsmen said they had been unaware of the prohibition and said that signs warning of the ban had been blocked by the crowds watching the parade.

The judge agreed and acquitted all 17 loyalist bandsmen, saying the prosecution had failed to reach the standard proof required.