allegations denied | 

Sinn Fein councillor and two other men arrested over alleged assault

A lawyer acting on his behalf has questioned if his arrest was politically motivated.

Sheamus Greene

Adrian Rutherford and Liam TunneyBelfast Telegraph

A Sinn Fein councillor has been arrested in connection with an alleged assault.

Sheamus Greene was one of three people held by the PSNI investigating an incident earlier this month.

The PSNI said enquiries are continuing.

Mr Greene, a member of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

A lawyer acting on his behalf has questioned if his arrest was politically motivated.

Police have also been asked to investigate allegations that menacing messages threatening a third party, sent from accounts claiming to be Mr Greene and Fermanagh Sinn Fein, have been falsified.

The Belfast Telegraph has seen copies of the alleged messages, which make threats to harm an individual.

The case, which emerged less than a week after Mr Greene was confirmed as a Sinn Fein candidate in the upcoming council election, relates to an incident on Sunday, March 12.

Police attended a reported assault in the Bunnisnagapple Road area of Brookeborough.

Three men were arrested and later released on police bail.

Legal representatives for Mr Greene confirmed he was one of those arrested after enquiries from this newspaper.

Solicitor Conor Sally said that on March 12, his client, his son and his wife “were attacked and assaulted in their own home by two individuals”.

He added: ”Police were immediately notified and arrested one of the perpetrators a short time later."

Mr Sally said “outrageous allegations” have been made against his client, “which are denied by Councillor Greene in the strongest possible terms”.

Mr Sally said that on March 16, he was contacted by Mr Greene, as he had been advised by police that he was going to be arrested.

The solicitor said he contacted police and advised that an arrest “would neither be reasonable, proportionate or necessary”, and suggested a voluntary attendance to deal with the matter.

Mr Sally said that around 6.30am on March 17, Mr Greene was arrested.

He said Mr Greene’s phone, which belongs to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, was seized and retained by police.

According to Mr Sally, allegations were made that Mr Greene had assaulted the man who allegedly assaulted him in his own home.

It was further alleged that he had threatened to kill the man in a Facebook message, and Fermanagh Sinn Féin had separately threatened the man via Facebook.

Mr Sally added: “My client told police that both Facebook accounts were neither his account, nor the account of Fermanagh Sinn Féin and that they appeared to have been falsely created.

“Requests were also made by him for police to verify the IP addresses of where the posts originated.

“My client denied the allegations made against him in the strongest possible terms and I made representations about the failure of the PSNI to make relevant enquiries and the failings within the investigative process that were obvious to any reasonable investigator.

“Representations were also made about the arrest being politically motivated and also made weeks prior to an election wherein my client’s council phone was seized, preventing constituents contacting him and furthermore impacting on his election campaign.”

Mr Sally said his client is considering civil legal action against the perpetrators and the PSNI.

He said complaints will be made to the Police Ombudsman.

Mr Sally said: “This statement is only made due to media speculation and queries made in respect of my client.”

He added: “No further comment will be made at this stage.

“The media is reminded that this case is live and ongoing and of my client’s continued right to innocence, a fair trial and to privacy.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Following an altercation at an address on Bunnisnagapple Road in Brookeborough on March 12, police arrested a 33-year-old man on March 17.

“A number of counter allegations were made and on 17 March, police arrested two men aged 58 and 22.

“All three men were subsequently released on police bail, following interview, to allow for further police enquiries.

“The investigation is ongoing at present.”

The PSNI rejected any suggestion that the arrests were politically motivated, and said anyone with a complaint about police actions should contact the Office of the Police Ombudsman who will conduct an independent investigation.

Sinn Fein was also contacted for comment.

Mr Greene is a school bus driver and a hill farmer who has been a councillor since 2011.

Last weekend, Sinn Fein confirmed that Mr Greene had been selected to contest May’s council election.

Thomas O’Reilly and Noeleen Hayes are also standing in the Erne East ward.

Sinn Fein said they were “three great candidates who will fight for all those in Erne East”.

Mr Greene said he was “honoured to be selected to stand for Sinn Fèin again in Erne East”.

“Less than two months to go till the Local Government Council elections, so it is back to the people to decide who they want to fight on their behalf,” he posted on social media.

“Hopefully all three Sinn Fèin candidates can be returned to give Erne East the strongest voice possible.”

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