Frazer's flag protest charges dropped

Published Wednesday, 21 May 2014
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All flag protest charges against loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer have been dropped.

Frazer's flag protest charges dropped
Willie Frazer outside court on Wednesday. (© Presseye)

Prosecutors told Belfast Magistrates' Court there was insufficient evidence on allegations that he took part in an un-notified public procession and encouraged others to do the same by making a speech at City Hall.

The development leaves Frazer facing a single count of possessing a Taser stun gun.

Following confirmation the 53-year-old, from Markethill, Co Armagh, vowed to find out who was behind charging him in the first place.

He said: "I spent two weeks in custody over this.

"I will be demanding to know through the House of Commons and the House of Lords who made the decision at senior policing level to charge me."

Mr Frazer was one of the most high-profile figures brought before the courts amid demonstrations over the decision to limit the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall.

He was accused of encouraging or assisting offences by a public address, and taking part in unlawful marches.

But with other charges having already been withdrawn, District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told two remaining counts connected to a protest on 19 January 2013 were being dropped.

Public Prosecution Service lawyer John O'Neill said: "There have been disclosure issues over the last number of months and the prosecution have been coming into possession of bits and pieces of information.

"We have now stood back, reviewed the case and the evidential test is no longer viewed as being met in respect of (the two charges)."

With the flag-related charges being abandoned, Judge Bagnall agreed to lift a ban on Mr Frazer participating in any public demonstration.

A prohibition on going within one mile of any protest or procession was also removed.

A contested hearing on the remaining charge of Mr Frazer having the Taser at his home is due to go ahead next week.

Outside the court he claimed that the case against him had been political.

"I'm relieved but very angry," he added.

"For 15 months I was more or less under open house arrest.

"Thankfully I had a good legal team, but somebody had an agenda to take Willie Frazer and others off the streets."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
gerard in belfast wrote (251 days ago):
this goes to show the law in n.ireland is a joke why was he put in jail if they could not charge him i have no love for willy but he should not have been in jail cause this goes to show they had notthing on him even i have to agree it does look like political policeing which should never happen in 2014 so at the end of the day this could happen to any of us if ur face dont suite u will be lock up and when u get to court there is no charges he should sue the police and dpp for what they did to him we all know he is only a ejet no1 should be lock onless they r breaking the law i know he had a taser which i hope he does get charge with but only a fine about £50 well thats what i think
kieran in N I wrote (251 days ago):
So here we go again (free willie) allowed to go back to the protest line to make an idiot out of himself and those him he claims to represent. Personally if i was on a protest line I would not want this edjit speaking for me your only hope is that he gets six months and misses the july silly season
Michael in Belfast wrote (252 days ago):
Yet another fantastic waste of taxpayers money by the PPS and PSNI. Why put anyone before a court to then drop the charges its beyond me, this is happening far to regularly in the NI legal system!
Pádraig in Béal Feirste wrote (252 days ago):
His ban on attending protests has only been lifted today? What about his protest outside Antrim Police Station when Adams was arrested?
Wolfe in Belfast wrote (252 days ago):
What a joke. These idiots need locked up. There was enough evidence to arrest, hold and charge him. Why not prosecute on the same evidence.
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