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Ex-soldier in challenge over gun licence refusal

A former soldier refused a firearms certificate amid claims he impersonated a police officer to have sex with prostitutes has launched a legal challenge against the denial.

The Lisburn man, who faced allegations of rape before all charges were dropped, is seeking to overturn a decision taken by the Secretary of State.

His 2006 application to be allowed a shotgun for sporting purposes was turned down by the Chief Constable.

That assessment was upheld on appeal by the Secretary of State, leading to judicial review proceedings being brought at the High Court.

A judge heard how the man served in the UDR and RIR before later working in TV licensing enforcement.

The man still has a completely clear criminal record, his barrister Gavin Robinson stressed. He added that his client has also never admitted claims that he impersonated a police officer when charged with four counts of rape in the mid-1990s.

The judge, Mr Justice Treacy, pointed to the tragic events in Cumbria, where Derrick Bird went on the rampage killing 12 people.

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He said: “Can you just imagine this had been the background to the Bird case... and it transpired somebody with a background like this had been given a firearm? Can you imagine the public outcry there would be?”

Mr Robinson replied that less stringent tests are carried out in England and Wales, and added that Bird did have a criminal conviction.

The application for leave to seek a judicial review was adjourned to establish whether the man did ever admit to pretending to be a policeman.

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