A man accused of repeatedly threatening to kill Health Minister Robin Swann has been ordered to appear in court or face arrest.
Neither 45-year-old William Herbert Hawkes, of Ardmillan Crescent in Ards, nor his solicitors at Brentnall Legal Ltd attended Newtownards Magistrates Court today.
District Judge Mark Hamill admitted there was little he could do about the law firm and their “intolerable” non-attendance but said, “I want Hawkes here in court on August 23”.
A prosecuting lawyer had told the judge that following a PPS review of the case, the two indictments against Hawkes were being altered.
They explained that in relation to alleged offences from November 15 last year, Hawkes will face two counts of making a threat to kill Mr Swann and one charge of sending menacing tweets to the Health Minister.
On the second set of charges, alleged to have been committed on January 22 and 23 of this year, Hawkes will face four counts of making a threat to kill and one of sending an offensive or menacing message.
The review means that six charges are to be withdrawn, including four counts of making a threat to kill, harassment and improper use of a telecommunication network.
At previous hearings, it was claimed that Hawkes sent a number of tweets where he labelled the Mr Swann as a “monster, a liar and a killer”.
At the time, Hawkes was under probation supervision from similar offences also relating to Mr Swann.
In court on Tuesday, Judge Hamill ordered the PPS to inform Hawkes’ solicitors of their “proposed way forward”.
The judge adjourned the case to August 23 and warned that if Hawkes didn’t show up, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.