Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Willie Frazer freed again after being held over bail breach

A judge in Belfast Willie Frazer with a warning that he cannot continue to flaunt conditions imposed on him
A judge in Belfast Willie Frazer with a warning that he cannot continue to flaunt conditions imposed on him

Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer was freed again today despite being held to have breached bail terms by being at the scene of a Maze prison site protest.

A judge in Belfast released the 53-year-old with a warning that he cannot continue to flaunt conditions imposed on him.

Frazer, from Markethill, Co Armagh, 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 an order not to make any public speeches or social media comments connected to the flag dispute, or being within two miles of public protests, demonstrations or processions.

Police detailed three incidents in the last week which culminated in him being arrested on the motorway near Craigavon and taken into custody on Monday night.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was first seen in a car in Tandragee on June 13 about half a mile from where a small group of union flag protestors had gathered.

After being spoken to by an officer he produced a recording device and asked him to repeat what he had said, according to police.

A day later he was spotted driving in Rathfriland where a loyalist band parade was being held.

Frazer was eventually detained following the incident at the site of the former Maze Prison on Monday.

Five people were there to protest against plans to build a peace centre at the location.

Union flags and a placard stating "terrorist shrine" were observed at the scene, the court heard.

Frazer was arrested more than 10 miles away, allegedly refusing at first to get out of his car.

A struggle began after handcuffs were used, with two officers needed to remove him from the vehicle.

A PSNI constable told the court: "The defendant raised his voice and began referring to an officer as a southerner and a Provo."

Maze protest leaflets and a camcorder were seized from the boot of the car.

As Frazer's wife Ann joined other supporters in the public gallery, defence counsel Richard Smyth said none of the alleged bail breaches were accepted.

He said his client had been chanced upon the first protest and band parade while out in his car.

Frazer had then arranged to meet a journalist at the Maze half an hour before a planned demonstration by others to ensure he did not flout release conditions, the barrister contended.

"When he was finishing off the interview two or three cars pulled up, he says six people got out, there were brief pleasantries exchanged and he then got in his car and left," Mr Smyth added.

District Judge George Conner observed that the campaigner seemed to be attracted to protests either "telepathically or otherwise".

Although Frazer was held to be in breach of his release conditions, Mr Conner ruled he could be granted bail again.

The judge warned: "He must realise he cannot continue to flaunt the position, which is what I think is going on."

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz