Man in court on terror charges linked to PSNI data breach

Christopher Paul O’Kane was remanded in custody.

A man has appeared in court in Co Antrim charged with two terror offences relating to a major Police Service of Northern Ireland data breach.

Christopher Paul O’Kane, 50, from Dungiven, has been charged with possessing documents or records likely to be useful to terrorists and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

At Coleraine Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ballymena, O’Kane appeared in the dock where the charges were read to him.

The court was told that he was arrested at his home on Friday.

PSNI data breach
PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said dissident republicans had access to the information (Liam McBurney/PA)

A PSNI officer told the court that O’Kane was in possession of a spreadsheet containing the names from the data leak on a phone found at his Dungiven home.

The officer objected to bail based on the current heightened security situation.

Bail was refused and O’Kane was remanded in custody for four weeks.

Personal data on all serving members of the PSNI was mistakenly published earlier this month in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Details released included the surname and first initial of every employee, their rank or grade, where they are based and the unit they work in.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne confirmed last week that dissident republicans had access to the information and he believed it would be used to intimidate and target police.

A document posted close to the Sinn Fein office in the Falls Road, Belfast, included information about a substantial number of police officers and staff, although their names had been removed.

A number of other data breaches have since come to light, including the loss of a police officer’s laptop and notebook which contained details of 42 officers and members of staff after the items fell from a moving vehicle last week.

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