PSNI fail to silence Frazer

June 10, 2013

A bid by the PSNI to prevent loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer from speaking to the press has failed.  In an agreement between the police and his solicitor, Frazer attended Belfast Magistrates’ Court last week over an alleged bail breach.

The high profile flag protestor was granted bail in March after being charged with offences linked to flag protests, including encouraging offences during an address to demonstrators in January, taking part in an un-notified procession, obstructing traffic and possession of a Taser.

Bail conditions ordered that the 53 year old should reside at his home in Markethill and make no public speeches or social media comments linked to the union flag dispute.

Mr Frazer must also stay at least two miles from any public protest or procession and must report to the police once a week.

Police officers monitoring social media sites claimed he breached the terms of his release twice last week after they discovered he had posted an allegedly flag-related comment on his Facebook page and had been quoted in a newspaper report regarding a woman jailed last week for rioting linked to the flag protests.

A PSNI officer told the court that due to their concerns that any further public comments by him could heighten tensions, an additional condition was being sought to prevent Frazer from participating in any media interviews whatsoever.

Declining the blanket ban on media interviews, District Judge Fiona Bagnall referred to the original High Court order, which was specifically related to flag-related issues.

The judge said she was reluctant to widen the ban any further and released Mr Frazer on the same terms as had been previously set.  She also advised the PSNI to go back before the High Court if they wanted the terms of his bail amended.

Mr Frazer was released and is due to appear again on June 28.