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 Main Street, Feeny, has been charged with possessing documents or records likely to be useful to terrorists and possession of two mobile phones for use in terrorism.

At Coleraine Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ballymena on Monday, O’Kane sat handcuffed between two police officers. He refused to stand when the charges were read to him.

The court was told that he was arrested at his home on Friday and two phones were discovered in his bedroom.

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 names from the data leak on a phone found at his Dungiven home.

The court heard that parts were highlighted which included details of sections of officers.

The officer also said O’Kane had registered with a website that could be used to search for addresses using surnames.

The officer said police believe O’Kane was intending to use the data to attempt to identify the home addresses of those named.

The second phone contained images of explosive detonators, the court was told.

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

A defence solicitor said there was no evidence the material had been used for any nefarious purposes or with any intent.

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.