Belfast Telegraph

Postal worker accused of loyalist graffiti on Alliance Party car park space 'banned from contact with members'

A postal worker accused of spraying loyalist paramilitary graffiti at an Alliance Party worker's car parking space has been banned from contacting any of its members.

Keith Armstrong is also prohibited from entering any party offices as part of bail conditions, a judge ordered.

The 48-year-old appeared in court today charged with intimidation, criminal damage and motoring offences.

Armstrong, of Leven Park, Belfast, is alleged to have spray-painted 'UVF' on tarmac beside an Alliance office in the east of the city last Thursday.

Police said a member of staff who parks there has since increased his security measures because he felt intimidated and threatened.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard CCTV footage allegedly showed Armstrong arrive at the scene on the Upper Newtownards Road in a Citroen car.

A PSNI constable said he was arrested nearby and told police: "It was just a stupid thing I did."

Armstrong stated that he found the spray paint in an alleyway and insisted his alleged actions were not at the Alliance office.

But opposing bail, the officer claimed a campaign of intimidation against the political party has been ongoing since the Union flag dispute flared a year ago.

She accepted there is no evidence of Armstrong being involved in any other alleged incident.

Defence solicitor Sean McCann stressed his client has never been linked to the flag demonstrations.

"These UVF marks were something like four-five inches, they are not the big slogans on the side of the wall," he said.

The solicitor confirmed Armstrong would agree to stay away from any Alliance premises.

He added: "I know it was considered (by police) releasing him on bail, but then someone made it into a massive 'let's protect Northern Ireland from this gentleman' and that's impossible."

Based on the evidence District Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to grant bail for Armstrong to appear again on January 9.

Imposing an exclusion zone around the Upper Newtownards Road premises, she also directed: "He is to have no contact with any Alliance Party member and he is not to enter any Alliance Party office."

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