Derek Lammey, accused of leading a loyalist show of force in Pitt Park in east Belfast, will be allowed to return to the city, judge says
One of the men accused of leading a loyalist show of force in east Belfast must be allowed to return to the city, a High Court judge ruled today.
erek Lammey (56) is currently free on bail for his alleged involvement in a rally of up to 60 masked men in Pitt Park earlier this year.
He had previously been ordered to live under curfew in a place in Co Down.
But Justice Humphreys granted Lammey permission to return to his family home due to the impact of those provisions.
He said: “I am convinced that there is a real issue surrounding the mental health of this applicant, which has been exacerbated by the segregation he has endured at the current bail address. “
Lammey, of Spring Place in Belfast, faces charges of illegal assembly and brawl in connection with the high-profile incident in February this year.
Stephen Matthews (59), of Pansy Street in the city, and his 35-year-old son David Matthews, of Millreagh in Dundonald, are charged with the same offenses.
The three defendants deny any involvement and are not charged with any paramilitary offense.
But according to prosecutors, the group of masked men who arrived at Pitt Park are linked to East Belfast UVF.
Contested claims have been made that 11 people living in the area were forced to flee their homes and take shelter in the nearby Ballymac community center for more than a week.
Lammey is said to be one of the three men who led the crowds into the area.
On bail imposed in April, he was ordered to live in Bangor and was barred from entering the area or contacting any other suspicious participants.
But defense lawyers argued that enough time had passed for Lammey to be able to return to his family.
Insisting that his client should be treated on an equal basis with the co-accused, lawyer Ian Turkington said: “What is sauce for the goose is the sauce for the gander.”
Humphreys J. conceded that there had been a sufficient change of circumstances.
He ordered Lammey to continue to have no contact with any witnesses and forbade him to be with more than three people in a public place.