Man remanded in custody over threats to kill Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann
A Co Down man has been remanded in custody over charges of making threats to kill Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann.
William Herbert Hawkes, 44, of Ardmillan Crescent in Newtownards, has also been charged with the harassment of Mr Swann (pictured), as well as improper use of electronic communications.
A police officer indicated they believed they could connect the accused to the charges.
Hawkes appeared at court via videolink.
Newtownards Magistrates’ Court heard that threatening and offensive messages were sent from a Twitter account.
They included advocating the killing of Mr Swann as well as describing the health minister as a “deadly little b*****d”.
A prosecuting lawyer said Hawkes was identified through police systems.
The court heard the defendant made no comment during police interviews and refused to hand over passwords to his electronic devices.
A lawyer for Hawkes said his client cares for his elderly mother and father and is willing to abide by any bail conditions imposed by the court, including not having any internet related devices.
He said his client has mental health difficulties and is currently “engaging in that process with a professional”.
District Judge Mark Hamill refused bail due to the risk of reoffending.
He said case may go to the Crown Court “because it is that serious”.
“The fact that the defendant withholds his passwords is a factor in that, this will inevitably prolong the investigation,” he said.
“He withholds his passwords and that’s going to prolong the remand.”
Hawkes is due to appear again in court on December 15.
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