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Man (19) on bonfire hate crime charges

By Nevin Farrell

Published 16/09/2015

The accused Colin White outside court yesterday
The accused Colin White outside court yesterday

A man has appeared in court on hate crime charges linked to a loyalist bonfire in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland.

In a landmark move, 19-year-old Colin White was in Antrim Magistrates Court charged over the placing of offensive material on an Eleventh Night bonfire in the Ballycraigy estate.

No specific details of the case were outlined at the court hearing yesterday.

White, of Farmhill in Ballycraigy, is charged with displaying “written material which was threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to arouse fear, or having regard to all the circumstances fear or hatred was likely to be aroused” on July 11, 2014.

During the short hearing a prosecutor asked for the case to be adjourned until next month.

The prosecutor said he believed it was going to be a not guilty plea from the defendant.

A defence solicitor applied for legal aid, saying the accused earned £800 a month.

Police launched a hate crime investigation over the Ballycraigy bonfire last year following complaints and later passed a file to the Public Prosecution Service.

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