Willie Frazer’s defence team claims police struck deal with loyalists

Willie Frazer speaking during the flag protests.
Willie Frazer speaking during the flag protests.

Police allegedly struck a deal with loyalist representatives to allow a Union Flag demonstration parade to take place, a court heard yesterday.

It was claimed the agreement was in return for guarantees that no violence would break out at the march, and lawyers for Willie Frazer are seeking full disclosure of any documentation from the two meetings that were said to have taken place ahead of it.

Frazer, 53, from Markethill, Co Armagh, is currently facing charges linked to the flag dispute in Belfast.

They include encouraging or assisting offences by making a speech outside City Hall and taking part in an un-notified public procession on January 19 last year.

Defence barrister Richard Smyth told Belfast Magistrates’ Court that Frazer “heard on the grapevine” that senior police met with community representatives in the run-up to the January 19 procession.

Mr Smyth claimed no satisfactory answers have been given to the disclosure requests.

“At the end of the day the defence is not being treated fairly in this case,” he said.

“It seems there was a meeting at a senior level with the powers-that-be, or community leaders for want of a better word, where an agreement was discussed in relation to this march and that was never passed down to the foot soldiers. They are now trying to prosecute this particular defendant who was involved on the day, without telling him about this going on in the background.”

The judge was told, however, that no notes or records were kept. The disclosure application was adjourned for two weeks to let the prosecution make further inquiries.