Loyalist's prison poppy case 'resolved'

Published Wednesday, 20 February 2013
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Prison bosses are to review their policy on the wearing of poppies by inmates, after loyalist sex offender Mark Harbinson launched a legal challenge.

Loyalist's prison poppy case 'resolved'
Mark Harbinson is being held at HMP Magilligan. (© UTV)

Harbinson, 46 and from Stoneyford in Co Antrim, is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence at HMP Magilligan for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl whose topless pictures were found on his phone.

The former Orangeman, who came to prominence during the Drumcree marching protest, was jailed in May 2011 - after his trial heard how he spent months grooming the victim.

More than 1,700 text messages were sent between Harbinson and the schoolgirl.

He was convicted of molesting the teenager and possessing the indecent images, but acquitted of separate indecent assault charges. The jury failed to reach a verdict on further alleged offences.

Harbinson later launched judicial review proceedings over action taken against him for refusing to remove a poppy after the designated period.

But the High Court heard on Wednesday that the case has now been resolved.

"He received an order to remove it (the poppy), wouldn't comply with it, and was adjudicated accordingly," a barrister for HMP Magilligan told Mr Justice Treacy.

"The Prison Service are prepared to cancel the adjudication, to alter their records to reflect the fact that the adjudication has been cancelled, and will undertake to reconsider the poppy-wearing policy within HMP Magilligan."

On that basis, the judge agreed to dismiss the case and award costs in favour of Harbinson.

"It seems a fairly comprehensive victory," he added.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
a loyalist in belfast wrote (678 days ago):
I am a loyalist and it disgusts me that this sex offender has the cheek to wear a poppy.
lucylou in belfast wrote (705 days ago):
this disgusting individual appears to have no shame for the crime for which he is jailed.He should be lying low hanging his head in shame; instead he is out there brazen as you like over HIS rights to wear a poppy.I would bet that many many men who fought for their country would prefer he didn't associate himself with them in ANY way!! Had the child he groomed no rights to a safe childhood?? I am no expert but he wouldn't be within a mile of any child in my care when released. What I am sure of is that child sex abuse can ruin a persons whole life and taxpayers money is wasted so this monster can have an adjudication lifted?? 'A fairly comprehensive victory'?? NO==NO==NO! it is simply a disgrace.
Eamo in Belfast wrote (705 days ago):
Is this going to be another concession to loyalism cause they cant fly the flag of England 365 days. I agree with what the poopy in England stands for but it was politicised here by loyalists.
John in Newtownabbey wrote (705 days ago):
Unsavoury man. By any chance was he wanting to wear it 365 days a year?
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