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Judge rules technical bail breach but releases Frazer

Willie Frazer with his wife Anne

Willie Frazer with his wife Anne

Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer was freed again yesterday after being arrested for allegedly breaching a ban on going near any public protests.

The 53-year-old had been detained in an east Belfast cafe on Tuesday following his attendance at Stormont for a special debate on Twelfth of July parading decisions.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court also heard how he confronted representatives of new political party NI21 in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings on Tuesday.

It was claimed he told MLA Basil McCrea: “You’re a disgrace. You should have called your party the AK47 Party.”

Frazer, from Markethill, is charged with encouraging offences by an address to Union Flag demonstrators in January.

He is also accused of three counts of taking part in an un-notified public procession, obstructing traffic in a public place, and possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a Taser stun-gun.

In March he was granted bail on a series of tight conditions.

They included a ban on being within two miles of public protests, demonstrations or processions.

For the third time he was returned to court for allegedly flouting those conditions.

Police claimed he was in breach by attending Stormont because a group of 40 protestors had gathered at the front steps of Parliament Buildings.

Frazer’s wife Ann joined other supporters in court to hear a defence lawyer argue that he could not have known a protest was planned.

Barrister Richard Smyth said his client was invited to Stormont by MLAs Jim Allister and Tom Elliott – arriving 45 minutes before any demonstration began.

“He took no steps whatsoever to speak to anyone, organise or address that grouping,” he told the court.

Any remarks inside Stormont were directed at Mr McCrea’s party colleague John McCallister, according to Mr Smyth.

The barrister added: “Mr Frazer was actually in a coffee shop on the Newtownards Road having lunch when two public order teams went to those premises on hearing the radio transmission and arrested him.”

Although Deputy District Judge Bonita Boyd ruled that he had technically breached bail she agreed to release him again on the same terms.

Frazer is due back in court next month for an update on his case.

 

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