Belfast Telegraph

Bryson reveals 'most' of the items seized during Donaghadee search returned

Jamie Bryson
Jamie Bryson

By Paul Higgins

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson has revealed that “most of the items” seized during an investigation into the alleged supply of illegal door staff have been returned to him.

Documents, laptops and an iPad were seized by the police who were acting on behalf of the Security Industry Authority when conducted searches at a property in Donaghadee in August last year.

Those searches had been executed under a warrant but earlier this year at the High Court, Mr Justice McCloskey ruled the warrants were wrongly obtained but did not have them formally quashed.

At Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Friday, Mr Bryson revealed "the SIA have returned the majority of stuff to me and I assume that in the next four weeks, given the ruling, that the rest of the stuff will be given back.”

The prominent loyalist had two cases before the court, one where he is seeking the return of his property and another where he is charged with making a false statements to the Security Industry Authority and recklessly making a false statement to the SIA on June 6 last year that "JJ Security Services Limited has never traded."

A previous hearing, the High Court was told the SIA wrote to Mr Bryson last summer requesting information about JJ Security Services Ltd, a company where he was a named director.

It formed part of an investigation into door staff operating in the north Down area.

In his reply Mr Bryson stressed JJ Security Services Ltd has never traded and does not hold any relevant information.

It is the contention that according to a £450 invoice for "SIA licensed event supervisors" at a bonfire festival in Bangor in 2017, a document created by JJ Security Services, five men were supplied for six hours at a rate of £15 per hour each.

In court on Friday, District Judge Steven Keown heard that Mr Bryson intends to argue to have those charges dismissed on the grounds of an abuse of process.

Mr Bryson told the court that, despite another District Judge ruling that he should be allowed to see the production order relating to the documents, the PSNI are seeking to thwart that, claiming the order is subject to Public Interest Immunity so should not be disclosed.

"I find that quite surprising," declared Mr Bryson, adding as the SIA have brought the private prosecution and are not "an agent of the Crown... what on earth is the national security concerns about a supposed investigation into doormen?"

A lawyer for the SIA told the court there are parallel proceedings in relation to a Judicial Review set to be heard by the Supreme Court, potentially in December, submitting that the abuse of process argument should be heard and dealt with before that courts decision.

Mr Bryson contended, however, that his application, which if granted would see the charges dismissed, should not be dealt with until after the Supreme Court has made its ruling.

Adjourning the case to 15 November, Judge Keown ordered Mr Bryson and counsel for the SIA to lodge skeleton arguments "about whether the case should go ahead before or after the Supreme Court."

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