DUP’s Patterson charged over Facebook post

Party criticises her arrest and say they plan to raise the issue with PSNI chief constable

Ruth Patterson will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on August 22nd, accused of sending a grossly offensive communication.

Ruth Patterson will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on August 22nd, accused of sending a grossly offensive communication.

Sat, Aug 3, 2013, 09:38

A Democratic Unionist councillor in Northern Ireland has been charged by police with sending a grossly offensive communication.

Former Belfast City deputy lord mayor Ruth Patterson (57) was arrested yesterday morning by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) over comments made on the social networking site Facebook which strongly criticised senior Sinn Fein members.

It followed a row over a contentious republican parade planned for later this month in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Ms Patterson will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on August 22nd, police said, accused of sending a grossly offensive communication.

On Facebook she responded to someone else’s post about an imaginary attack on the parade in which several people including Sinn Féin figures are killed.

She wrote: “We would have done a great service to Northern Ireland and the world.” She later apologised.

The DUP has criticised her arrest and said they planned to raise the issue with the PSNI chief constable.

A DUP spokesman contrasted Ms Patterson’s treatment with that of Sinn Fein members. “Ruth was guilty of an error in judgment: others in Sinn Fein are guilty of far more serious crimes,” he said.

PA