Robin Swann: Man charged over threats to health minster

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Robin SwannImage source, Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye
Image caption,
The defendant is charged with making a threat to kill Robin Swann on 20 August

A County Down man has been charged with threatening to kill Northern Ireland's health minister.

William Herbert Hawkes, 43, from Ardmillan Crescent in Newtownards, is charged with making a threat to kill Robin Swann on 20 August 2020.

Mr Hawkes is further charged with pursuing a course of conduct amounting to harassment of Mr Swann and improper use of a telecommunication network.

He is alleged to have sent a message or other material of a "menacing nature".

Mr Hawkes did not appear in person at Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Giving evidence in court, a police officer said she believed she could connect Mr Hawkes to each of the offences.

None of the facts surrounding the allegations were opened in court, but it is understood they relate to a number of online messages and comments about Mr Swann.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court "the full file is outstanding" so was seeking an adjournment of up to eight weeks.

Defence counsel Kelly Doherty said she had no objection to this and Deputy District Judge Joe Rice adjourned the case until 12 November.