A controversial loyalist pastor has been formally charged with witness intimidation and improper use of a communication network.
Although 52-year-old Barrie Halliday did not attend Newry Magistrates' Court, sitting in Lisburn, which is in accordance with guidance from the Lord Chief Justice, a police officer gave evidence that she was aware of the circumstances of all three offences and could connect the cleric to each of them.
Halliday, from the Bessbrook Road, Mountnorris, Armagh faces three charges on two bills of indictment alleging that on June 9 this year, he used an electronic communication network to send a “message or other matter that was grossly offensive".
On the other indictment Halliday, a pastor at the Five Mile Hill Pentecostal Church which is also based on his family farm, faces a further similar allegation relating to a communication network but accusing him of sending a message which was “of a menacing character” and an allegation of witness intimidation against a named female by naming her in a Facebook video, both allegedly committed on dates between June 12-17 this year.
The particulars of the intimidation charge allege that by naming the woman in the video, Halliday “intimidated her and was intended to intimidate her knowing or believing that she was assisting in the investigation of an offence or was a witness or potential witness in proceedings for an offence and intended thereby to cause the investigation or the course of justice to be obstructed perverted or interfered with”.
With worldwide protests linked to the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd in America, Halliday posted a video suggesting those involved in the protests should be "sent home in a boat".
In the video which was viewed 30,000 times before it was removed, former UDR soldier Halliday denied he was a racist but said those attacking statues of political leaders are "on the road to nothing".
"It may have been boats that brought you here three or four hundred years ago and you were brought under duress and against your will, but there's boats sitting there empty at the minute doing nothing.
"You are welcome to get back on them and go back home if you think we're so bad."
Following Wednesday's brief hearing, District Judge Amanda Henderson adjourned both cases to August 5.