Leading loyalist David ‘Dee’ Stitt and four other men accused of taking part in an allegedly illegal protocol protest parade have been ordered to appear in court or face arrest.
With none of the five defendants nor their solicitor attending court last week, the judge declared: “Someone better show some interest in this case.”
As well as Stitt (51), from Lord Wardens Court in Bangor, the others charged are Mark Anderson (38), from Dunville Link in Holywood; Lee Paul Kennedy (33), from Upper Crescent in Comber; Louis Cowan (36), from Oakley Avenue in Holywood; and Edward James Shaw (45), from Carrowdore Gardens in Bangor.
The charge arises from a protest parade in the Kilcooley Estate in Bangor where dozens of protesters were lead on a parade by the North Down Defenders Flute band.
Stitt, a former UDA leader in North Down who is from Lord Wardens Court in Bangor, once described the band as “our homeland security”.
Just a few months ago, loyalist groups held numerous ‘pop-up protests’ over the protocol. But, under legislation, any parade has to be permitted by the Parades Commission.
In this instance, the charge alleges that Stitt and others “took part in a public procession in respect of which the requirements of Section 6 of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 had not been satisfied.”
With the case adjourned until next month, the judge told Newtownards Magistrates Court that, on that upcoming date, all five men “will all appear in front of me or there will be arrest warrants”, warning that “their apparent disinterest will not be tolerated”.