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Man in court accused of harassing Sinn Fein councillor Patrice Hardy

By Nevin Farrell

A County Antrim man has appeared in court accused of harassing a Sinn Fein councillor Patrice Hardy.

John Lamont (31), of Blackstone Road between Portglenone and Rasharkin, is accused of harassing Councillor Hardy who is from the Clooney area outside Ahoghill around nine miles away.

The councillor represents the Bannside electoral area on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council which includes Blackstone Road.

Lamont, was wearing a suit, shirt and tie as he appeared briefly in the dock at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday and nodded to confirm he understood the charges he faces.

He faces six charges - three of pursuing a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of Ms Hardy, another female and a male.

Lamont is further accused of three counts that he persistently made use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another.

The offences are alleged to have occurred on dates between March 1 and December 31, 2016.

The offences relating specifically to Councillor Hardy allegedly happened on dates between April 1 and November 26, 2016.

A police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

A prosecutor said a seventh charge - assault - which was not on the court charge sheet, was not being proceeded with.

A defence lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for a week and legal aid was granted for Lamont.

No further details were given to the court and the defendant was released on continuing police bail.

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