Northern Ireland news

Man charged with Covid-19 breach after refusing to shut gym

Declan Trainor (32)

A MAN has appeared in court accused of breaching Covid-19 regulations after he refused to close his gym.

Appearing at Newry Magistates Court by videolink from police custody, Declan Trainor (32) confirmed his first name and had to be asked three times to confirm his date of birth but remained silent when asked if he understood the charge.

Representing himself, Mr Trainor told the court clerk "my name is Declan, I'm a man. I'm a living human" when asked to confirm his identity.

Mr Trainor, from Rossmara Park in Warrenpoint, is charged with contravening Covid health restrictions on December 1.

The charge came following videos, shot by Mr Trainor himself at The Gym in Newry, which show police officers arresting him.

In the videos, he called on the public to “take a stand” against restrictions.

Ahead of the court appearance, the PSNI said it received reports of a suspected potential breach of Health Protection (Coronavirus Regulations Northern Ireland) at a gym in Newry on November 27.

The owner was spoken to by police and encouraged to follow the regulations.

Police called to the premises on several more occasions and penalty notices were issued to people using the gym in breach of current regulations.

In court today, a police officer testified that he was satisfied the man who appeared from custody was the defendant.

"He was arrested at his gym last night and 8.30pm and he has been in custody since - he believes he is a freeman,” said the officer.

District Judge Eamon King ordered him to appear again on December 23.

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