Forensic tests on fake rifle ‘pointed at Orange parade’

Christopher Donaldson is facing five charges
Christopher Donaldson is facing five charges

The fake assault rifle a man is accused of pointing at an Orange parade has been sent for forensic tests, a lawyer has revealed.

The prosecuting lawyer also told Antrim Magistrates’ Court that while “there have been issues with accessing” a mobile phone owned by 34-year-old Christopher Donaldson, the PPS are “hoping to sort that this week”.

Donaldson, whose address has been made the subject of a reporting restriction, was not at court having been excused, but he is on bail facing five charges arising from an incident on July 8.

He is accused of having an imitation AK47 assault rifle with intent to cause fear of violence, doing a provocative act by “chanting sectarian slogans”, improper use of a communication network to send a message which he knew to be false, using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, and possessing a single round of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

The charges arise after a video emerged of a man appearing to pretend to fire at an Orange parade in Randalstown.

A second video uploaded to the same Facebook page showed a man positioning himself close to those on parade before making offensive remarks and chanting pro-IRA slogans.

Previously the court heard that Donaldson accepts it was him in the videos and further that he had been subjected to online threats against his safety.

In court on Tuesday, the PPS lawyer said the forensic report on the assault rifle is due on November 20. Excusing Donaldson from attending again, District Judge Nigel Broderick listed the case for review on November 27.

As part of his bail conditions, Donaldson must not access social media, go within 100 metres of a parade or public procession, must reside at his home address, report to police three times a week and observe a curfew.