Decision on continuing with Facebook post charge against Ruth Patterson due next week

Ruth Patterson

Ruth Patterson

A Belfast councillor will learn next week if her prosecution for an alleged offensive posting on Facebook is to continue, a court heard yesterday.

Ruth Patterson’s lawyer was told a final decision on whether to proceed with the charge will be confirmed by Friday.

A prosecution lawyer gave the undertaking as the judge rejected a bid to have the case against the Democratic Unionist politician struck out.

Mrs Patterson, a former deputy lord mayor of Belfast, has been charged with sending a grossly offensive electronic communication.

It relates to comments linked to another Facebook user’s posting about an imaginary attack on a republican parade in Castlederg.

The 57-year-old former nurse was arrested and charged in August.

At a previous hearing it was confirmed that she will be pleading not guilty.

Mrs Patterson attended Belfast Magistrates’ Court yesterday as her solicitor, Denis Moloney, applied to have the case thrown out.

He said the Public Prosecution Service were to state their final position by this stage.

“This matter has been going on since August,” Mr Moloney told District Judge Fiona Bagnall.

“It should have been dealt with by summons, not by charge. I would ask Your Worship to strike the matter out.”

A PPS representative said: “The decision is almost finalised and my application would be for one week.

“There’s one further matter to be finalised before the decision can be taken.”

Judge Bagnall granted the PPS another seven days to conclude matters.


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