A solicitor acting for former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has written to the PSNI Chief Constable and to the Legal & Civil Services of Belfast City Council on his behalf to make a formal complaint about an offensive banner that appeared on council property on Saturday 6 February. The image on the banner can only be construed as a threat to kill and a hate crime.
A formal complaint has already been made to the PSNI by the Sinn Féin group leader Cllr Ciaran Beattie.
Mr Adams said:
“On Saturday a banner was attached to the fencing at the front of the City Hall. The banner included an image of me under the title ‘Tick-Tock’. It also contained abusive and sectarian language underneath. The author/authors claim to have killed one person and clearly signal their intent to kill me. I believe the banner is a breach of the Council’s bye-laws and constitutes a hate crime and a threat to kill.
“I have written to the PSNI Chief Constable asking him ‘to identify the person or persons responsible for placing this banner in such a public location. Can you confirm whether enquiries have been made about preserving any CCTV footage which exists?’
“I have also asked him if he will “confirm a criminal investigation is underway”.
“I have also written to Belfast City Council’s Legal & Civil Services about the display of the banner and making a formal complaint. I have asked the council ‘to confirm what steps you have taken to establish who was responsible for placing this banner over council property which is in breach of Bye-law No. 5 which states :-
‘It shall be an offence for any person to……
(b) Affix any unauthorised notice, banner or bill, or attach any bicycle or other article to any wall, fence, gate, hedge or tree, or any statue or other structure.’
“The area in front of City Hall is monitored by CCTV and I have asked ‘what steps have been taken to secure the footage and any other available evidence… also confirm that you have or will notify the PSNI and co-operate fully insofar as securing any evidence which would assist in their investigation of a hate crime.’
“I have also asked if security officials at Belfast City Council will be monitoring the situation at future Saturday demonstrations at the entrance to Belfast City Hall to avoid the repetition of any further offence.
“There can be no place for hate crime or public threats. The PSNI has a responsibility to confront those responsible for such offences when they appear and to pursue those responsible through the courts.”