Belfast Telegraph

Man denied bail as gun found in New Lodge home may be linked to attack

By Ashleigh McDonald

A gun seized during a search of a house in the New Lodge area of Belfast may have been used in at least one local 'punishment attack', the High Court heard.

The weapon in question was one of three guns located during the search of Denis Patrick O'Keefe's Little George's Street home last month.

During a bail application made on behalf of O'Keefe (49), a Crown prosecutor revealed the property was searched on June 12. A sawn-off shotgun was found wrapped up in socks in a cupboard in the living room, while a rifle and pistol were located in a holdall in the downstairs hallway of the house.

The prosecutor told the High Court that O'Keefe was arrested, and during two police interviews "he refused to answer any questions in relation to the weapons".

Around six weeks prior to the weapons being seized, a kneecapping was carried out in north Belfast, and the court heard that as a result of that incident O'Keefe's house was searched and the guns found.

Forensic examinations are ongoing, but the prosecutor said that one of the weapons seized in O'Keefe's house may have been used in the punishment attack.

The prosecutor also told the court: "The police believe these weapons were being stored by the applicant for others, and may have been used in further attacks."

The Crown, he said, was objecting to bail for a number of reasons, including a risk of further offending, and a risk of interfering with witnesses, as it is understood O'Keefe knows the victim of the kneecapping.

A defence barrister described the prosecution case against his client as "a lot of ifs and buts and suspicions" and said there was "no suggestion" that O'Keefe "had any direct involvement in the use of a firearm at any time".

Lord Justice Higgins said if O'Keefe was "storing or keeping these weapons on behalf of other persons, these other persons must have considered him to be reliable".

Bail was refused.

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