‘Rumours of violent protests against supergrass trial are untrue’

Quashing rumours: PUP representative, Phil Hamilton.
Quashing rumours: PUP representative, Phil Hamilton.

EAST Antrim Progressive Unionist Party representative Phil Hamilton has rubbished rumours that there could be serious civil unrest within local communities in protest at the ongoing ‘supergrass’ trial in Belfast.

Former UVF leader Mark Haddock and 13 co-accused, including six men from Newtownabbey, deny a litany of charges against them. Nine of the men are accused of murdering UDA boss Tommy English at his home in Ballyduff in October 2000.

Relatives and friends of the men have formed the Families Against Supergrass Trials (FAST) group, holding protests against the use of self-confessed UVF terrorists Robert and David Stewart as prosecution witnesses in the non-jury trial.

Mr Hamilton this week revealed that rumours have been circulating within some areas of the borough that there could be serious civil unrest in protest against the ongoing court case; but he stressed that they are not true and accused those behind them of “scaremongering.”

“Since the supergrass trial started rumours have been going about that there is going to be trouble and that people have been told to keep off the streets. I have been contacted by statutory agencies, local businesses, as well as local residents, who have been concerned by what they have heard.

“There is no foundation to these rumours whatsoever. Of course there is frustration within the community and feelings are running high, but these rumours will only inflame the situation and make things worse,” he told the Times.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...