Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer is freed on bail but must shun protests
Published 15/03/2013 | 00:00
Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has been freed on bail after agreeing to a High Court judge that he would abide by several conditions – including not going near any flag protests.
The 52-year-old was released from Maghaberry jail after a Belfast court was told that the Armagh man was suffering from an incurable cancer.
He was bailed after agreeing to stringent bail conditions.
The allegations against Frazer relate to a speech he made to protesters at Donegall Square in Belfast on January 19.
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 – in this case a stun gun, found in a drawer in his bedroom.
Appearing by video link from Maghaberry yesterday, Frazer wore a blue long-sleeve shirt.
Mr Justice Weir read each condition directly to Mr Frazer, to which he replied: "That's fair enough, your honour."
Asked if he'd give his word to abide by the conditions, he said: "100% your honour".
After agreeing to the terms and with proceedings over, he gave a thumbs-up before leaving his holding room at the jail.
Sitting in the public gallery yesterday were Stormont Minister Danny Kennedy and DUP MLA William Irwin – who both represent Frazer's constituency of Armagh – along with TUV leader Jim Allister.
After yesterday's hearing, Frazer's wife Anne said: "We are all glad to be getting him home."
In court yesterday opposing his release, prosecution lawyer Adrian Higgins accepted Frazer was not accused of violence.
But he alleged that the former UDR soldier could be seen standing within a few feet of masked protesters throwing masonry and other missiles at police lines, during one episode of disorder in Belfast.
It was disclosed that after being charged, he had told police officers that he didn't "recognise a Sinn Fein political police force".
Food was refused by Frazer for a brief period while detained before he resumed eating, the court heard.
The prosecution said Frazer's political views and position as spokesman for the Ulster People's Forum mean he will continue to encourage other protesters through public addresses and media contact.
But defence counsel Alan Kane QC stressed his client was not accused of organising any protests. He also emphasised Frazer's unblemished past and current serious ill-health.