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Belfast blackmail accused suspected of threatening to release compromising information

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Jackie Johnston appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Jackie Johnston appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Jackie Johnston appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A Belfast man was remanded into custody today charged with blackmailing people to make cash transfers.

Jackie Johnston, 37, allegedly used menacing telephone calls to demand money from three different men.

Police said the case relates to suspected threats to release compromising information about a number of individuals.

Johnston, of Parkend Street in the city, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with three counts of blackmail on dates between November 2018 and November 2019.

He is also accused of obstructing police by providing false details when detained on Wednesday.

In a separate case, Johnston is charged with two counts of theft.

He allegedly stole £300 worth of bedding from a Dunelm Mill store in January this year, and meat products valued at £80 from a Lidl branch earlier this month.

Opposing bail, a detective claimed there was a risk of further offences.

The court was told any delay in questioning Johnston about the blackmail charges could be due to obtaining the relevant information from the banks.

But defence barrister Jonathan Browne expressed concerns about progress made in the case.

"A lot of the contact was allegedly over telephone communication," he said.

No further details about the suspected blackmail incidents were disclosed.

Bail was refused due to the risk of Johnston not turning up for future hearings.

District Judge Mark Hamill remanded him in custody to appear again on August 27.

Belfast Telegraph