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Republican councillor McShane to challenge threat conviction

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/05/2016

Fined: Padraig McShane
Fined: Padraig McShane

An independent republican councillor has won High Court permission to challenge the lawfulness of his conviction for disorderly behaviour.

Padraig McShane was fined over an incident where he allegedly threatened to shove a glass bottle down the throat of the husband of a TUV rival.

The 44-year-old was accused of threatening violence during a meeting of the former Moyle District Council in Ballycastle in 2012. Stephen McKillop, whose wife Sharon represented the TUV on the local authority, claimed Mr McShane had threatened to "split" him with a bottle of water.

Another witness also alleged that the republican councillor had turned to Mr McKillop in the public gallery.

She claimed Mr McShane, of Whitehall Avenue in Ballycastle, threatened to shove the bottle down his throat if he didn't shut up. Mr McShane denied the charge, claiming the allegations were part of a vendetta against him.

But the councillor, who was later elected to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council, was found guilty of disorderly behaviour at Coleraine Magistrates' Court. His appeal against conviction was rejected at Antrim County Court, although the £500 fine imposed was reduced to £100.

He is now taking legal action over the lawfulness of the criminal process. The challenge is centred on the alleged non-disclosure of issues at both the original trial and appeal hearings.

At the High Court yesterday Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan confirmed McShane was being granted leave to seek a judicial review. Sir Declan directed that Mr McKillop should be notified and given the opportunity to participate in the proceedings.

A full hearing is expected to take place next month.

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