Man accused of harassing Sinn Fein councillor

Patrice Hardy represents the Bannside electoral area on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Patrice Hardy represents the Bannside electoral area on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

A Portglenone man has appeared in court accused of harassing a Sinn Fein councillor.

John Lamont, 31, of Blackstone Road between Portglenone and Rasharkin, is alleged to have harassed Patrice Hardy.

The councillor represents the Bannside electoral area on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council which includes Blackstone Road.

Lamont appeared briefly in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court and nodded to confirm he understood the charges he faces.

He faces six charges – three of pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of Ms Hardy, another female and a male.

Lamont is further accused of three counts, on corresponding dates, that he persistently made use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between March 1 and December 31, 2016.

The offences relating specifically to Councillor Hardy allegedly happened on dates between April 1 and November 26, 2016.

A police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

A prosecutor said a seventh charge – assault – which was not on the court charge sheet, was not being proceeded with.

A defence lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for a week and legal aid was granted for Lamont.

No further details were given to the court and the defendant was released on continuing police bail.