Posted By: August 23, 2013

Note : Instead of disowning the ugly, violent comments of a politician, the DUP ( Ian Paisley’s party) gives their full support.

DUP sends backing for councillor

Connla Young.Irish News (Belfast). Friday, August 23, 2013

SENIOR DUP figures turned out to support Belfast councillor Ruth Patterson yesterday when she appeared in court in connection with an offensive comment she posted on Facebook.

The party hardliner was flanked by MLA Jonathan Bell and other supporters when she walked into Belfast Magistrates Court for the brief hearing yesterday.

There was minor jostling as some of the supporters tried to block the view of TV camera crews and photographers with umbrellas – marked with poppy designs – as she entered and exited the complex.

DUP members in court to support Ms Patterson included former finance minister Sammy Wilson, health minister Edwin Poots, Belfast deputy mayor Christopher Stalford and councillor Frank McCoubrey.

Leading Union flag protesters Willie Frazer, Jim Dowson and Bill Hill were also in the building to give their backing.

Ms Patterson (57), a former deputy mayor, is charged with sending a message deemed to be grossly offensive, indecent or obscene or of a menacing character via public electronic communications network last month.

She was charged after voicing support for a gun and bomb attack on a republican parade.

She later apologised for the remarks made in response to a fictional account of the massacre of senior Sinn Fein members.

Ms Patterson smiled as she entered the dock before glancing around the courtroom.

Her solicitor, Denis Moloney, who has represented high-profile clients in the past, told District Judge Fiona Bagnall that his client would plead not guilty.

He said that although “the matter gained notoriety be-cause of the defendant’s humble and contrite apology”, that did not affect her ability to contest the charge.

He urged the court to proceed with the case so that it would not be “hanging over her like the sword of Damocles”.

Mr Moloney described the nature of his client’s arrest as “malicious and draconian”.

As the hearing ended supporters in the public gallery applauded and one man shouted: “What about Gerry Kelly? When is he coming to court?” – a reference to claims by unionists that the Sinn Fein MLA obstructed a PSNI Land Rover during a loyalist parade in June.

District judge Bagnall then ordered the courtroom to be cleared.

The case is due to be heard again on October 17.