FRAZER FREED, BRYSON MOVED TO UVF WING FOR ‘HIS OWN SAFETY’

Willie Frazer freed on High Court bail on Thursday

Willie Frazer freed on High Court bail on Thursday

ULSTER People’s Forum founder Willie Frazer has been banned from going within two miles of a Union flag protest as he is freed on bail.

And his co-accused Jamie Bryson has moved from the remand unit in Maghaberry prison to the UVF wing for “his own safety” away from dissident republican inmates.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Reg Weir QC to release Mr Frazer after being told he is suffering from incurable cancer.

The 52-year-old was arrested by detectives from Operation Dulcet which was set up by the PSNI to investigate Union flag protests and resulting violence.

Mr Frazer is accused of encouraging offences when he made a speech in front of protestors at Donegall Square in Belfast on Saturday, January 19.

He is also facing charges of possession of a Taser-style stun gun, obstructing traffic in a public place and three counts of taking part in an unnotified procession.

Frazer told police he believed the stun-gun, which was found in a bedside locker during searches of his Markethill home, was a pig or cattle prod.

He claimed he had taken it from a youth up to eight years ago.

Mr Justice Weir also banned Frazer from making public speeches or making comments on social media about the ongoing flag dispute.

When the judge asked if the Co Armagh man would keep to his word, Frazer replied: “A hundred per cent Your Honour.”

He appeared via video-link from Maghaberry Prison, while TUV leader Jim Allister and Ulster Unionist MLA and Roads Minister Danny Kennedy stood with Frazer’s wife Ann in the public gallery.

Prosecution lawyer Adrian Higgins said although Frazer is not accused of violence, he said the former victims campaigner could be seen standing close to masked protestors who attacked police.

After he was arrested and charged, Frazer said: “I don’t recognise a Sinn Fein political police force.”

Later he claimed to be someone else who he said had committed the Kingsmill Massacre, before going on hunger strike for a brief period.

“He also stated that he would remain in custody for six months if need be in order to have the trumped-up charges tested in court,” Mr Higgins said.

The prosecution claim Frazer’s role as a spokesman for the Ulster People’s Form means he will continue to encourage other protestors.

Mr Higgins said: “Police believe that all too frequently what have started out as peaceful protests have descended into serious public disorder which has resulted in damage to property, injuries to members of the public and police, and significant financial loss to local businesses and to the economy of Northern Ireland as a whole.”

But defence counsel Alan Kane QC said his client was not accused of organising any protests and he emphasised Frazer’s unblemished past.

“This is a man who has no criminal record, but he has, however, incurable cancer for which he is presently receiving ongoing treatment,” Mr Kane told the court.

Mr Kane also explained how Frazer had previously helped victims of terrorism before stepping down through ill health.

The court also heard how Frazer’s father, two uncles and two cousins were murdered by the IRA.

His father, two uncles and two cousins were all murdered by the IRA, the court heard.

“He informs me that he lost six very close friends through terrorism,” Mr Kane said.

“It drove him to help people who have suffered in a similar way.”

Jamie Bryson charged with organising unlawful parades

Jamie Bryson charged with organising unlawful parades

As Frazer was released on Thursday afternoon to return to his home, close friend and Ulster People’s Forum spokesman Jamie Bryson has been moved to a loyalist paramiltiary wing.

The 23-year-old had been held in the remand unit of Maghaberry prison which holds all prisoners awaiting trail.

South Antrim Progressive Unionist Party spokesman Ken Wilkonson has confirmed that Bryson is now on a loyalist wing which UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando inmates.

The switch of wings took place on Monday.

Asked if it was true that Mr Bryson had moved to the loyalist wing, PUP south Antrim spokesman Ken Wilkinson said: “Yes, he has.”

Mr Wilkinson said that members of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando all used the wing, known as Bush 1 and Bush 2.

“It was set up that way on grounds of health and safety,” he said. “It was set up as a loyalist wing. I was one of the people who did the negotiation for them to be set up that way.”

It is understood that Jamie Bryson had asked to be moved to the loyalist wing “for his own safety”.

“He was under a lot of pressure inside the remand wing,” said Mr Wilkinson.

“He was getting verbally threatened by people who were probably dissident republicans.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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