One of Northern Ireland’s top architects has admitted assaulting a woman and damaging one of her paintings.
Helen’s Bay businessman Iain Halliday is best known as the designer of Belfast’s luxury boutique Fitzwilliam Hotel in Great Victoria Street which opened its doors in 2009.
At Newtownards Magistrates Court on Wednesday, the shamed 57-year-old architect pleaded guilty to the three charges against him involving a woman named Kathryn Bury.
Halliday had previously denied the charges of common assault, threats to kill and criminal damage of a painting made by Ms Bury.
The incidents, which took place on September 25, 2015, were listed for contest but the matter was settled outside of court on Tuesday afternoon resulting in no witnesses needing to be called.
Halliday, from Church Road, Helen’s Bay first appeared in court on October 22 where he entered pleas of not guilty to all three charges.
He then returned to Newtowards Magistrates’ Court twice in February before changing his plea to guilty last week.
Halliday was a director/company secretary of Co. Down firm Wirefox Design Ltd, previously known as Halliday Ramsay Partnership Ltd.
According to Companies House records he resigned as a director on April 13 - the day he appeared at Ards Court to admit the charges.
Halliday Ramsay was founded in January 2000 and offers architecture, interior design, project management and planning services.
On the company’s website, which is still active, Halliday Ramsay claims to work principally in the private sector on commercial, retail, leisure and residential projects ranging in value from £250,000 to £15 million.
Halliday Ramsay’s Northern Ireland projects have included the £11m Fitzwilliam Hotel, the £4.5m Radisson SAS hotel in Belfast and the £4m development of the Lighthouse Building at the Gasworks in Belfast.
Halliday began his career in Edinburgh in the 1980s where one of his early projects was designing a kitchen for top Tory politician Malcolm Rifkind who held various cabinet posts in the 1990s including Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
In the 1990s Halliday was project director for the firm which designed Derry’s Foyleside Shopping Centre.
This week an alternative version of the public realm scheme created by local architect Iain Halliday came into circulation.
In 2013 Halliday created alternative plans to Bangor’s £8 million public realm proposal to redevelop the coastal town close to Halliday’s home.
Halliday’s proposed vision, which included pedestrianising much of the town, redesigning shops, repositioning the local market and increasing parking facilities, was well received by members of North Down Borough Council and the local community.
Judge Hamill adjourned Halliday’s case until May 11 to give time for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.