Belfast Telegraph

Murder accused breached bail with web post

By Alan Erwin

A man charged with murdering a prison officer in Belfast breached bail conditions through Facebook postings that accused a policeman of being a paedophile, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors said Christopher Robinson was returned to custody for sharing the unsubstantiated allegations and a photo of the officer in defiance of a social media ban.

Details emerged as a judge refused the 46-year-old's application to be re-released on bail.

Mr Justice Colton said: "The postings do raise concerns about the applicant's views and commitment to (being) anti-police." Robinson, of Aspen Park in Dunmurry, is accused over the killing of Adrian Ismay in March.

He also faces a further charge of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life.

Mr Ismay (52) suffered serious leg injuries when a booby-trap bomb exploded under the van he was driving in the east of the city.

He had been recovering, but died following a return to hospital 11 days later.

Robinson is allegedly linked to the bombing by CCTV footage of a car believed to have been used to plant the device at the victim's Hillsborough Drive home early on March 4.

Forensic examination of the car revealed traces of RDX, an identifier in high explosive material, on its rear floor and seats, a previous court was told.

Robinson was said to have known Mr Ismay through working together as volunteers with St John Ambulance.

He was granted bail in May, but re-arrested again a number of times for allegedly failing to comply with terms set by the court. On each occasion he was re-released.

In October a prohibition was imposed on him putting messages on social media.

It was alleged that Robinson breached the ban by providing a photo of a PSNI officer to another social media user and then commenting on it when it was put online.

Prosecution counsel yesterday revealed the contents of postings said to have been shared.

Reference was made to a PSNI officer engaging with a young girl in west Belfast.

One of the Facebook comments labelled the policeman a sexual predator and described him as being a "paedophile cop", the court heard.

Defence counsel argued that it was a technical breach of bail by sharing the postings of others.

He insisted the content did not suggest any tendency towards violence towards police.

"Undoubtedly he (Robinson) has a political viewpoint that is different to the viewpoint of those who would support the PSNI," the barrister said.

"He has spent six weeks in custody as a result of pressing the share button on his computer."

But with the accused also held to have broken the terms of his release by failing to disclose details of a mobile phone, Mr Justice Colton denied his bid to be released again from custody. He said: "I'm not persuaded that any conditions I impose will not be tested by the applicant."

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