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Assault rifle linked with plot to kill Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair couldn't be fired, says gun expert

By Wilma Riley

Published 19/06/2015

Johnny Adair
Johnny Adair
Sam McCrory

An AK47 assault rifle linked to an alleged plot to murder former loyalist leader Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair was not capable of being fired, a court has been told.

A firearms expert told the High Court in Glasgow that the rear of the Chinese-made assault rifle's firing pin was broken.

Cameron Vallance said he had to repair it using an 8mm piece of metal and Blu Tack before the weapon would fire.

The jury was also told that eight of the bullets found beside the assault rifle were duds and the wrong calibre for the weapon. There was one live bullet, which was also the wrong calibre.

Antoin Duffy (39), Martin Hughes (36), Paul Sands (31) and John Gorman (58) deny conspiring to murder Adair and Sam McCrory - once high-profile figures in the UDA and the UFF.

Duffy and Gorman also deny being part of a plan to murder Barlinnie jail governor Derek McGill in a car bomb attack.

Three other men - Craig Convery (37), Gary Convery (34) and Gordon Brown (29) - deny organised crime charges.

The jury was shown a DVD which featured forensic scientist Mr Vallance in a bulletproof vest, ear protectors and protective glasses blasting away with the rifle at a target. This was described by defence counsel Thomas Ross, representing Brown, as being in a manner reminiscent of Al Pacino in Scarface. Mr Ross dubbed the footage of Mr Vallance firing the gun as "Over the top productions". Mr Ross said: "What sort of video would there have been if you had used the unrepaired weapon and eight useless bulleted cartridges?"

Mr Vallance replied: "There wouldn't have been any point making a video."

The defence counsel added: "The weapon couldn't do anything?"

Mr Vallance said:"No."

Prosecutor Paul Kearney asked Mr Vallance: "Would you need to be a firearms expert to carry out the repair you did", and he replied: "No."

Earlier in the trial the jury was shown the assault rifle, which was found in a search of a tenement block in Paisley on October 23, 2013. The rifle and a magazine with bullets were in a padlocked cupboard outside the flat. The court heard the weapon was in a black bin bag in the cupboard under a pile of material including deckchairs, Christmas decorations and part of a Hoover. It was wrapped in a sheet and a magazine and bullets were wrapped in a pillowcase and inside a blue Ikea bag and then covered in a bin bag.

The court heard the DNA of James Welsh (54) from Renfrew was on the magazine. He was asked if he could explain this and said the last time he had touched a gun was when he was around 10.

He then added that it could be "contamination or something".

Mr Welsh denied knowing Gary Convery. He was asked why he appeared to have made calls to a phone used from time to time by Convery and said: "I don't know. I can't remember. Maybe we were having a wee chat or something."

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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