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Bail revoked for Adrian Ismay murder accused over police officer Facebook comments

By Alan Erwin

Published 27/10/2016

Charges: Christopher Robinson
Charges: Christopher Robinson

A man charged with murdering a prison officer in Belfast had his bail revoked over Facebook comments about a policeman's photo.

Christopher Robinson, 46, was also held to have broken the terms of his release by failing to disclose details of a mobile phone.

Based on the two identified breaches of bail a judge at Belfast Magistrates' Court remanded him back into custody on Thursday.

Robinson, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, is accused over the killing of Adrian Ismay in March.

He also faces a further charge of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Mr Ismay, 52, suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under the van while he was driving in the east of the city.

He had been recovering, but died following a return to hospital 11 days later.

Robinson is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used to plant the device at the victim's Hillsborough Drive home early on March 4.

Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, an identifier in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats, a previous court was told.

Robinson was said to have known Mr Ismay through working together as volunteers with St John Ambulance.

Adrian Ismay
Adrian Ismay
Christopher Robinson

He was granted bail in May, but re-arrested again a number of times for allegedly failing to comply with terms set by the court. On each occasion he was re-released.

Earlier this month a prohibition was imposed on him putting messages on social media.

In court today a detective sergeant involved in the murder investigation claimed Robinson began posting again on October 16.

He alleged that the defendant provided a photo of a PSNI officer to another social media user and then commented on it when it was put online.

"Last night police had to apply to Facebook to have the image of the police officer and text removed from a Facebook page," he said.

District Judge Liam McNally was told a mobile phone discovered on Robinson when he was arrested on Wednesday is to be examined.

Strenuously opposing the accused being released from custody again, the detective claimed there had been up to five previous breaches of bail.

These included failures to comply with a curfew and an electronic tag held to have been damaged accidentally in a fall.

As the incidents were set out Robinson shouted out from the dock: "He's a liar."

A defence lawyer argued that his client only purchased the phone this week and had planned to provide police with the number.

With Robinson denying that he posted the Facebook comments, his solicitor claimed someone else must have used his account.

But another detective responded: "They would have to have known the user name and password - it's highly unlikely."

Finding there had been two breaches, Judge McNally remanded the accused back into custody to appear again on November 18.

"Mr Robinson is a man who is well aware of the possible (consequences) of a breach of bail," he said.

As he was being led from the dock Robinson waved to a woman in the public gallery

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