A MAN accused of inciting hatred by placing offensive material on a loyalist bonfire in Antrim "utterly disputes" it was him who put it there.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, Colin White (19) is to be prosecuted for displaying written material knowing or believing that "hatred was likely to be stirred up or fear was likely to be aroused" on July 11 last year.
The charges relate to material placed on a massive pyre in the loyalist Ballycraigy estate, which made headlines for its sectarian displays including an effigy of Gerry Adams, a racist display, a rainbow flag representing the gay community and numerous tricolours.
It has yet to be disclosed exactly what material the charge relates to.
Defence barrister Aaron Thompson told Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday that while photographs had been disclosed to the defence depicting a person placing the allegedly offensive materials, Mr White - of Farmhill in Antrim's Ballycraigy estate - "disputes utterly the evidence that he was the individual".
He said given that stance the contest, a date for which will be set in two weeks, is akin to an "identity case".
The landmark case comes months after the PSNI said prosecutions over election posters and effigies on bonfires were unlikely because the evidence had been burned.