Police had to obtain a court injunction to force a Newry gym owner to close his business, it has emerged.
Declan Trainor was due back in the high court last week over the matter but according to defence solicitor Roise Fitzpatrick, that has been adjourned. The action was brought by the PSNI.
A PSNI spokesperson revealed: "An interim injunction was obtained by PSNI from the high court on December 31, 2020, which compelled a non-essential business premises in the Newry area to close and to remain closed in line with the current health protection regulations."
Trainor (32), from Rossmara Park in Warrenpoint, faces three charges of breaching Covid regulations last December by allegedly refusing to close his gym - offences which carry fines of up to £10,000 each.
The charges arise following a handful of videos, shot by Trainor himself at The Gym in Newry city, which shows half-a-dozen officers arresting him after they gain entry to his premises as he debates with them the legalities of their actions. In the videos, which have been shared thousands of times across social media platforms and which have attracted both vehement support and stinging criticism, Trainor calls on the public to "take a stand" against Covid restrictions.
Previously, Newry Magistrates Court has heard that Trainor, who initially represented himself when the charges were first laid against him, "believes he is a freeman" and just last month he handed in a birth certificate with his finger print, apparently in blood with the document declaring: "I am settler Declan Trainor and do take control of the dominion Declan Trainor."
In court on Wednesday, Ms Fitzpatrick said she expected to receive a new date for the high court proceedings "fairly soon" and suggested adjourning the criminal matters "for a number of weeks" to await the outcome of the parallel proceedings.
In the meantime, she told the court she was seeking disclosure of CCTV footage and footage from officers' body-worn cameras and also applied for legal aid, submitting that Trainor "doesn't receive any income due to the business being closed." Granting legal aid, District Judge Eamon King adjourned the cases to March 24.