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Bryson to lodge complaint with watchdog over arrest

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Jamie Bryson

Jamie Bryson

PA

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton

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Jamie Bryson

Prominent loyalist Jamie Bryson says he plans to make a complaint to the Police Ombudsman following his arrest on Thursday.

Mr Bryson claimed officers tipped off journalists prior to his arrest and invited a number to accompany them.

Police confirmed that a 28-year-old man was arrested after Paramilitary Crime Task Force and Security Industry Authority (SIA) searches in Ards and North Down.

The PSNI said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation into criminality linked to the east Belfast UVF.

Chief Constable George Hamilton commended the "good work" of the Paramilitary Crime Task Force and SIA.

Mr Bryson was held on suspicion of unlawfully supplying door staff and items were seized during the searches.

The loyalist, who is listed at Companies House as a director of JJ Security Services Ltd, has denied any wrongdoing.

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In a video posted after his release he claimed that after hours of questioning at Musgrave Police Station the PSNI said he had been bailed pending further enquiries, a claim Mr Bryson denies, saying he refused to accept bail under the conditions put forward by police.

He claimed that during interview police put no evidence to him, promising he would upload the audio of his police interview to the internet.

He said police attempted to release him without charge but wanted to put conditions on his release, including that he would not be able to tell anyone anything about his arrest.

The loyalist said among the items seized were journalistic materials, and he would be going to an arbitrator to stop police examining them.

He rejected police claims that the searches were related to an investigation linked to the loyalist terrorist group.

"The search warrant has no reference to any paramilitary activity or membership, therefore the police have no reasonable grounds for suspecting that," he said.

"How can you tell a man: 'You are not allowed to tell anybody what happened to you, but we are going to set the public narrative ourselves'.

"We are looking at legislation to confirm if some of it is even in effect in Northern Ireland, and the next stage will be a case for unlawful detention."

He added that he would be filing a complaint with the Police Ombudsman on Monday in relation to his arrest.

"My objective in all of this is to get before a judge and I would like a judge to assess the legality of telling someone they are not allowed to talk to any person about an arrest, there hasn't even been any charges," Mr Bryson said.

"The PSNI tipped off a number of journalists and pushed my name forward to them before putting out a statement which effectively jigsaw identified me.

"They had also discussed with journalists the opportunity of taking a ride-along with them to try and get someone to spectate at my arrest.

"This will form the basis of a Police Ombudsman complaint on Monday.

"It's entirely inappropriate, especially in light of the Cliff Richard judgment recently."

Mr Bryson said he felt he was being targeted because he was a high-profile voice for loyalism who challenged police.

The PSNI said: "We do not comment on named individuals and no inference should be drawn from this."


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