Man accused of threatening to kill Health Minister Robin Swann ordered to appear in court or face arrest

A north Down man accused of repeatedly threatening to kill Health Minister Robin Swann has been ordered to appear in court or face arrest.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 9:23 pm
The hearing was in Newtownards Magistrates Court.
The hearing was in Newtownards Magistrates Court.

Neither 45-year-old William Herbert Hawkes nor his solicitors at Brentnall Legal Ltd attended Newtownards Magistrates’ Court and while District Judge Mark Hamill said there was little he could do about the law firm and their non-attendance, he added: “I want him [Hawkes] here in court on August 23.”

A prosecuting lawyer had told the judge earlier than following a PPS review of the case, the two indictments against Hawkes were being altered.

Taking the indictments chronologically, the lawyer explained that in relation to offences from November 15 last year, Hawkes will face two counts of making a threat to kill Mr Swann and one charge of sending menacing tweets to the health minister.

On the second set of charges, alleged to have been committed on January 22 and 23, Hawkes will now face four counts of making a threat to kill and one of sending an offensive or menacing message.

The review means that a total of six charges are to be withdrawn including two counts apiece of making a threat to kill, harassment and improper use of a telecommunication network.

Previous courts have heard claims that Hawkes, from Ardmillan Crescent in Ards, sent a number of tweets where he labelled the health minister as a “monster, a liar and a killer”.

In the November case, Hawkes is alleged to have tweeted threats where he labelled the health minister as “corrupt,” a “deadly b******” and asked him to “explain his master plan”.

He also allegedly threatened that “I would like to kill the NI Health Minister”.

At the time, Hawkes was under probation supervision from previous, similar offences also relating to Mr Swann.