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Mairia Cahill's former partner warned in High Court not to use social media

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/09/2016

Court case: Mairia Cahill
Court case: Mairia Cahill

The former partner of Irish Labour Party Senator Mairia Cahill has been granted High Court bail on a charge of breaching a restraining order by using the internet.

But a judge warned Stephen Altimas (37) he could be returned to custody if he posts anything on social media while criminal proceedings continue.

Altimas, of Jamaica Court in Belfast, is currently contesting allegations of harassing Ms Cahill on dates between February and March this year.

He was arrested again earlier this month over claims of using Twitter and Facebook in breach of an order banning any online activity.

Prosecutors alleged that posted links to music videos were in reference to his ex-partner.

Madam Justice McBride was told Ms Cahill - who hit the headlines in 2014 when she went public over entirely separate claims of being raped as a teenager and later interrogated by the IRA - has now been subjected to online trolling by other internet users. Defence barrister Michael Tierney stressed his client categorically denies any involvement in the postings.

He told the court Altimas went to his solicitor's office to deactivate his social media accounts last month in a bid to comply with court orders.

Mr Tierney also contended that it was "a bit of a stretch" to interpret music videos as a reference to the alleged victim.

With the contested harassment allegations due back in court next month, the judge ruled that Altimas can be released back on bail.

Cautioning against going online, she told him: "If these posts were made by you they amount to a breach of conditions imposed on you - irrespective of whether they were actually directed at Mairia Cahill or not."

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