Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned as Court in County Down hears 'Pre-Action Protocol Letter' has been sent to prosecutors regarding alleged Covid regulation breaches

Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned as Court in County Down hears 'Pre-Action Protocol Letter' has been sent to prosecutors regarding alleged Covid regulation breaches

A DEFENCE lawyer has sent a 'Pre-Action Protocol Letter' to prosecutors regarding a case in which a number of local people are charged with breaching Covid regulations, Newtownards Magistrates Court was told.

The comments were made in connection with a number of people who are accused of contravening a Covid regulation on May 23 last year - William Adair (38), of Weavers Grange, Newtownards; Gareth Gill (50), of Stirling Avenue, Newtownards; Mark Sewell (43), of Glenmount Drive, Newtownabbey and Mark Anthony Clifton (37), of Berkley Square, Bangor.

A lawyer for three of the accused said he was mentioning the case on behalf of a lawyer for the other accused.

The lawyer said his legal colleague had "sent a a Pre-Action Protocol Letter to the Prosecution and is awaiting a response to his Pre-Action Letter".

District Judge Mark Hamill asked if this was the case in which there were "legal issues and you wanted to wait to see if Boris Johnson is prosecuted?"

In regards to the Prime Minister, the lawyer said: "I don't think we need to wait that long".

The judge said the lawyer should be "working for ITN News" as "you certainly have a scoop on your hands".

Judge Hamill said: "Newtownards Court will not be the first to rule on the viability or the legality of Coronavirus Regulations."

The case was adjourned to April 6.

At a previous court it was heard the local cases were linked to an allegation that 20 people were at a property on May 23 last year.

In connection with the same case a man with an address in Conlig recently pleaded guilty to contravening a Covid regulation and was fined £60 along with a £15 'offender levy'.

At an earlier hearing a defence lawyer had said there was a "public interest" in the matter and added: "There would be possible discrimination to prosecute these four defendants for these offences when there are other persons in this jurisdiction and the Prime Minister is not being prosecuted for the exact same offence".

At the earlier hearing that had prompted Judge Hamill to say the lawyer "forgot that little word 'potentially'."

The defence lawyer had agreed he had failed to mention the word "potentially" as regarding any non-prosecution of the Prime Minister.