Published Thursday, 17 October 2013
The DUP's Ruth Patterson waves an iPad outside court. (© Pacemaker)
During a hearing a Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday, it was explained that the police inquiry into an allegedly offensive Facebook post made by Patterson has widened to England.
Detectives are trying to find the source of the original message to which the 57-year-old Belfast politician responded, sparking controversy.
The original post detailed a fictitious account of the massacre of senior Sinn Féin members during a loyalist attack on an IRA commemoration in Co Tyrone.
Patterson's response, appearing to support such actions, saw her arrested by police in August and later charged with sending a "grossly offensive communication".
According to Patterson's legal team, the devices seized are necessary to her public duties as an elected representative.
"Her iPhone and iPad are required as part of a third party investigation going on in England," a constable told the court, before the council agreed to replace them.
To applause from the public gallery, Patterson was told by the judge that she would be allowed to attended legal loyalist parades and protests - despite objections from police on the grounds of her "high profile".
District judge Fiona Bagnall said: "The objection has to be related to the offence, not that any misbehaviour can be related to parades."
A meeting between police and prosecutors is scheduled for Tuesday to decide how to proceed with the case against the former deputy lord mayor.
During a previous hearing, it was confirmed that Patterson would be pleading not guilty to the charge against her.
Her solicitor said that an apology made by his client did not affect her ability to contest the charge.
© UTV News