Donnelly refuses to be drawn on plea by Nathan Hastings

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Newly-elected Independent candidate for Derry and Strabane, Gary Donnelly, says it would be inappropriate to comment on a plea of guilty to possession charges entered by fellow 32 County Sovereignty Movement member Nathan Hastings on Wednesday (May 28).

Mr Donnelly told the Sentinel: “I’m not shying away from it and I will respond to this and any other issues that come up on the new council. I just feel it would be inappropriate to comment as the man hasn’t been sentenced yet.”

In the wake of Mr Hastings’ guilty plea East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said Mr Donnelly should “make his position clear.”

Mr Hastings form Stradowen Drive in Strathfoyle was arrested after police stopped two cars on the Northland Road in April 2013.

On Wednesday he pleaded guilty after asking for charges of possession of arms and explosives to be put to him again.

Following the development Mr Campbell said: “It is time for a clear statement from the new councillor on his approach to terrorism.”

Mr Hastings is due to be sentenced on June 27.