WILLIE FRAZER BAIL RELAXED FOR JULY PARADES

Former FAIR director Willie Frazer allowed to attend parades in July, court rules

Former FAIR director Willie Frazer allowed to attend parades in July, court rules

UNION flag cheerleader Willie Frazer has been allowed by a judge to attend a parade marking the Battle of the Somme.

Mr Frazer, 53, was also given leave to be at a Twelfth of July demonstration and the Scarva sham fight.

But he was banned from saying anything publicly about any of the gatherings or the union flag dispute.

The judge agreed to a temporary relaxation of bail terms based on Mr Frazer’s record and behaviour since being released from custody.

“You can attend quietly all three events without making any comment to anyone about the events,” District judge Austin Kennedy said.

Mr Frazer, from Markethill, County Armagh, is charged with encouraging offences by an address to flag demonstrators in January.

He is also accused of three counts of taking part in an un-notified public procession, obstructing traffic in a public place, and possession of a prohibited weapon, namely a stun-gun.

In March, he was granted bail on a series of tight conditions including an order not to be within two miles of public protests, demonstrations or processions.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Friday seeking to have that prohibition temporarily lifted for three forthcoming events.

Mr Frazer wanted permission to go to a Somme commemoration event in County Armagh on Monday, a Twelfth parade in Newtownhamilton, and the Scarva sham fight on 13 July.

Police opposed the application, claiming the situation within the loyalist community remains volatile.

A constable told the court Mr Frazer’s attendance at the events could inflame others to commit offences.

But defence counsel Richard Smyth argued that his rights to freedom of assembly and religious expression were involved.

Referring to the Somme commemoration event the barrister said: “That is something very close to Mr Frazer, his grandmother’s seven brothers all fought in World War I.”

Mr Smyth said all three events were important for the cultural identity of his client and thousands of others.

“I sometimes get the impression that police and the prosecution are attempting to lay the blame for whatever tensions there are in loyalism solely at the door of Mr Frazer,” he said.

Judge Kennedy said that Mr Frazer was still banned from making any public speeches or giving interviews connected to the flag dispute.

 

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