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Flag protest trio in legal bid for joint case

Leading flag protestors Willie Frazer, Jamie Bryson and Jim Dowson pictured at Laganside court

Leading flag protestors Willie Frazer, Jamie Bryson and Jim Dowson pictured at Laganside court

Flag protestors Willie Frazer, Jamie Bryson and Jim Dowson yesterday appeared together in Belfast Magistrates’ Court to make a joint application for their cases to be heard together.

The three defendants are all charged with offences relating to the flag protests.

Solicitors for the defendants say there is commonality in their cases.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall said a decision on the joint application could not be made until disclosure is completed of meetings the defendants claim took place with the PSNI.

Judge Bagnall said it was likely the three cases would move along “at a similar pace”.

She added that it could get to the point the cases will be held at a similar time.

The cases of the three defendants were adjourned until March 26.

During the hearing, it emerged that Frazer, 53, from Markethill, remains charged with three offences – including possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a Taser.

Bryson, 23, from Donaghadee, is facing five charges of taking part in an unnotified procession and obstructing traffic.

Meanwhile, Dowson, from Newtownards, is also charged in relation to the flag protests.

Speaking outside court, Frazer said: “Today in the court I had a victory where even more charges were dropped.

“I have actually served more time in prison than the men who carried out the Kingsmills massacre and the men who murdered my father have done.

“And I am dragged weekly into a court here and all that happens is that the PPS drop another charge.

“I would like to know when this charade is going to stop?”

Frazer, who is also a spokesman for Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR), spent around a fortnight in custody last year after being charged in relation to the flag protests.

On his release on bail from Maghaberry prison, he told the News Letter that his short spell behind bars was enough to put him off.

He then said: “It is certainly not (an experience) I’d recommend.

“Any young fella that’s thinking of getting himself into trouble, don’t, it’s not worth it.

“No matter what the cause is, going to jail and ruining your life for the rest of your days is not worth it.

“If you’ve been arrested in the wrong there’s not much you can do about it, but if you’re setting out to break the law, don’t. It is not worth the hassle.”

 

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