Bail over 'witness protection breach'

Published Thursday, 31 July 2014
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A 32-year old woman has appeared in court accused of using her position as an employee of the Housing Executive to identify people under witness protection.

Bail over 'witness protection breach'
The alleged offences relate to information likely to be of use to terrorists. (© UTV)

Charlene Pierce, from Harman Park in Newtownabbey Co Antrim, was charged with misconduct in a public office and also of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists.

No details regarding the charges were revealed during Thursday's brief hearing.

However it is understood that they relate to an allegation that Pierce used her position as an employee of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in an alleged attempt to identify people who are currently on the PSNI's witness protection scheme.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard that the charges relate to a period from 25 to 28 June this year.

After the charges were read to her, Pierce spoke only to confirm she understood the charges.

A detective sergeant from the PSNI told District Judge Fiona Bagnall that he believed he could connect Pierce to the charges.

A Crown representative said there would be no objection to Pierce being released on bail, as long as several conditions were imposed.

These conditions include no direct or indirect contact with any Crown witnesses, not applying for a British or Irish passport and not to leave Northern Ireland without the approval of the PSNI.

She has also been ordered to report to police at Newtownabbey PSNI station twice a week. The case will be mentioned again on 25 September.

© UTV News
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