Man bailed over Alliance graffiti attack

Published Thursday, 12 December 2013
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A postal worker accused of spraying loyalist paramilitary graffiti on an Alliance Party worker's car parking space has been banned from contacting any of its members.

Man bailed over Alliance graffiti attack
The east Belfast office is the base for Alliance MP Naomi Long. (© UTV)

Keith Armstrong has also been prohibited from entering any of the party offices as part of his bail conditions.

The 48-year-old appeared in court on Thursday charged with intimidation, criminal damage and motoring offences.

Armstrong, of Leven Park, Belfast, is alleged to have spray-painted "UVF" on tarmac beside an Alliance office in the east of the city last Thursday.

Police said a member of staff who parks there has since increased his security measures because he felt intimidated and threatened.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard CCTV footage allegedly showed Armstrong arrive at the scene on the Upper Newtownards Road in a Citroen car.

PSNI constable said he was arrested nearby and told police: "It was just a stupid thing I did."

Armstrong stated that he found the spray paint in an alleyway and insisted his alleged actions were not at the Alliance office.

But opposing bail, the officer claimed a campaign of intimidation against the political party has been ongoing since the Union Flag dispute flared a year ago.

She accepted there was no evidence of Armstrong being involved in any other alleged incident.

Defence solicitor Sean McCann stressed his client was not linked to the flag demonstrations.

He said: "These UVF marks were something like four or five inches, they are not the big slogans on the side of the wall."

The solicitor confirmed Armstrong would agree to stay away from any Alliance premises.

He added: "I know it was considered [by police] releasing him on bail, but then someone made it into a massive 'let's protect Northern Ireland from this gentleman' and that's impossible."

Based on the evidence District Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to grant bail for Armstrong to appear again on 9 January.

Imposing an exclusion zone around the Upper Newtownards Road premises, she also directed: "He is to have no contact with any Alliance Party member and he is not to enter any Alliance Party office."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
D in belfast wrote (133 days ago):
hope his employers find out and get rid of him cause the alliance party are just doing their jobs
fred in belfast wrote (133 days ago):
what a nice postal worker he is, he should be ashamed of himself.
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