Flag protest trio face wait

THREE men accused of being involved in last year's loyalist flags protests will have to wait three weeks to hear if they will be permitted to have their cases heard together.

Jim Dowson (49) of Burn Road in Comber, Willie Frazer (53) from Markethill, Co Armagh and Jamie Bryson (24) of Rosepark, Donaghadee, Co Down, appeared at Laganside Magistrates Court yesterday.

All three are charged with taking part in unnotified parades, with Mr Frazer also charged with possession of a tazer style weapon.

The three are pleading not guilty. Mr Dowson, a former BNP fundraiser originally from Scotland who faces one charge of taking part in an unnotified parade made an application to have his defence heard alongside the other two men.

Defence lawyers acting for all three made applications for disclosure relating to the minutes of three meetings they claim senior police officers attended in January last year.

Two of those meetings are alleged to have taken place between police and loyalist representatives ahead of an illegal parade in east Belfast on January 19 last year.

The third was said to have been attended by Mr Bryson who is claiming police agreed to facilitate the unnotified parades, with a number of restrictions placed on the route.

A prosecution lawyer told Judge Fiona Bagnall it was his under-standing that minutes of the meetings would show that Mr Bryson was informed by police that participation in the parade would be illegal.

At this point Mr Bryson, who was seated in the public gallery alongside his co accused, shouted, "That's a lie".

Ms Bagnall told the accused to be quiet saying; "You're not allowed to speak".

The case was adjourned until March 26, at which point Ms Bagnall said she would consider the "commonality" of the three cases to see if they would proceed together.


Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: