Easter parade charges beaten again
Easter parade charges beaten again


Prominent Belfast republican Dee Fennell has been acquitted of overseeing an illegal Easter procession.

A second man, 31-year-old Patrick McGrath, was also cleared on a charge of participating in an unnotified (illegal) procession.

Charges against the two republicans were originally thrown out in January last year when footage of the incident could mysteriously not be played by prosecutors, but the prosecution was reinstated.

The charges against the men were again dismissed after prosecutors again claimed to be unable to play footage of the incident nearly three years ago.

Mr Fennell denied PSNI claims that he heard tannoy announcements that the event was unauthorised.

“If I thought it was illegal I wouldn’t have had my children with me,” he told the court.

He said he had attended up to 30 previous commemorations in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast without any issues.

He pointed out that others in attendance would have sought his views if the lawfulness of the event was in question.

“People would be asking ‘am I going to get done here’, but nobody came up to me,” he said.

“The first I knew was then a summons came in the door of a house I haven’t lived in for years.

“I thought this was all done with over a year ago when I was acquitted. It’s held me back, it’s just been a bit of a nightmare.”

In a subsequent post on Facebook, the Ardoyne man described the trial as “a joke from start to finish”.

“The supposed ‘evidence’ that I organised this event was a 2 second section of CCTV where I asked a line of people to stop, so my then 11 year old daughter could get past them to me, as was visible on the footage.

“The PSNI and PPS were effectively made fools of today in court.”

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