Frazer faces flag charges

March 4, 2013

Prominent loyalist campaigner, Willie Frazer, has been remanded in custody charged with offences linked to the ongoing flag protests.  He was arrested at his Markethill home on Wednesday morning.

Mr Frazer (53) appeared before Belfast Magistrates Court on Friday charged with a number of offences including three counts of taking part in an unnotified public procession, obstructing traffic in a public place and possession of a stun gun.

Bail was refused after the court heard there remains a significant risk the accused might reoffend.

During the hearing, the police objected to bail on the basis that Mr Frazer might encourage more protests in the future. However, his defence lawyer said the accused was not before the court for organising parades and that he did not believe he was taking part in any unlawful ones.

He also pointed to Mr Frazer’s clear record and raised issues about his health.

Dealing with the stun gun allegations, the lawyer said Mr Frazer had taken it from people involved in a dispute in Markethill a number of years ago, believing it was a cattle prodder that didn’t work.

District Judge Mervyn Bates said he was refusing bail based on the more serious charges of encouraging offences and having a prohibited weapon.

Mr Frazer was told he could apply for bail in the High Court but he declined, saying he would “rather stay in jail”.

He was remanded in custody to appear again in four week’s time.