Loyalist Colin Fulton in gag bid courted notoriety, court told
A Progressive Unionist Party member attempting to have a newspaper banned from claiming he is a loyalist paramilitary courted notoriety himself, the High Court heard.
Colin Fulton is seeking an injunction to stop the Sunday World from continuing to allege he is in the Ulster Volunteer Force.
The south Belfast man's lawyers argued that a series of articles have put his life at increased risk from dissident republicans.
But counsel for the newspaper resisted the legal move, contending that he had already received a death threat months before it named him.
A judge was told he flew a UVF flag outside his home in the Village area of the city and attended protests where the grouping was involved.
Brett Lockhart QC argued that Mr Fulton has allowed himself to become notorious.
The PUP man denies any role in the UVF.
He has received six warnings from police that he is under threat – four of them coming after the Sunday World began claiming he has a paramilitary role.
Frank O'Donoghue QC, for Mr Fulton, insisted there was a direct link because reference to the articles was made on dissident republican websites.
Despite denying the claims published against him, Mr Fulton has not sued for libel. He does not have the money to mount a defamation case, the court heard.
He also claimed the UVF flag was flown outside his house as a "cultural expression" to mark the centenary of the Ulster Covenant.
According to Mr Lockhart, however, that explanation would be lost on most right-thinking people.
The barrister stressed: "There is an indisputable public interest in the defendant investigating serious allegations of criminal misconduct."
Following submissions, Mr Justice Gillen reserved his decision on the injunction application.