Facebook messsage case adjourned

Daryl O'Donnell from Derry pictured at Court on wednesday in connection with comments made on social networking website Facebook concerning Gregory Campbell MLA.
Daryl O'Donnell from Derry pictured at Court on wednesday in connection with comments made on social networking website Facebook concerning Gregory Campbell MLA.
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The trial of a man accused of making an grossly offensive, indecent or obscene message on Facebook about a local politician has been adjourned.

Darryl O’Donnell, 31, of Belvedere Park, Foyle Springs, is charged with improper use of electronic communications on June 20, last year.

The charge relates to alleged comments posted on the social networking site about DUP MP Gregory Campbell and his reaction to the Saville Report.

District Judge Barney McElholm was told earlier this week, on the day of the contest, that the case would take at least a half day and not the hour and a half it was scheduled for.

Defence counsel David Heraghty said the case “involved complex legal issues” and added that a witness who had been agreed would now be required to attend.

The barrister claimed that a further issue had arose which questioned the “validity” of the charge faced by the 31-year-old.

He revealed that the directing officer within the Public Prosecution Service who took the decision to prosecute O’Donnell was “involved with the fall out of Saville Inquiry”.

Mr Heraghty said that this directing officer may have been advising on the possible prosecution of the soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday.

The barrister claimed that as a result, the man could have had a “conflicted view” of O’Donnell’s case, because it was connected to the reacion provoked by the Inquiry’s report last June.

However, District Judge Barney McElholm said he did not share the defence’s view.

He told Mr Heraghty: “Not only will that point not fly, it barely crawls. I am not going to concern myself with that.”

The judge adjourned the case until April 6.