Belfast Telegraph

Ex-police officer admits trying to buy gun, ammo and silencer on 'dark web'

By John Cassidy

A former PSNI officer has pleaded guilty to trying to buy a gun, ammunition and silencer on the 'dark web'.

Allen Kennedy (31), whose address was given as c/o of Strandtown police station in east Belfast, had been due to go on trial this week on a total of 14 gun ammunition and drug charges.

At Downpatrick Crown Court on Friday, defence barrister Conan Rae made an application to Judge Piers Grant for Kennedy to be re-arraigned.

Dressed in a grey two-piece suit, white shirt and grey tie, Kennedy confirmed his age and address to the court clerk before he was formally re-arraigned.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a 9mm pistol, 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition and a silencer on September 5, 2016.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing 102.24 grammes of cocaine with intent to supply.

Prosecution barrister Laura Ivers asked that a further eight charges relating to the firearm, ammunition and drug offences be "left on the books in the usual terms''.

Judge Grant ordered the preparation of a probation report ahead of a plea and sentencing hearing next month.

The defence barrister said there was no application for bail and the judge remanded Kennedy back into custody to Maghaberry prison.

No details were given in court about the circumstances surrounding the gun and drug offences.

A previous court hearing was told the charges related to Kennedy's involvement in trying to buy the firearm and ammunition over the internet's 'dark web'.

Following his arrest in September last year, Kennedy resigned from the PSNI having previously been suspended on an unrelated matter.

The court was told the then serving constable was detained during an undercover sting operation said to have resulted in the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins.

The court heard Kennedy was arrested at Annadale Embankment in south Belfast on September 5, 2016 after handing over £500 to receive a package.

A detective said the accused had used an online moniker and tag to arrange to buy a Russian pistol, silencer and ammunition over the so-called 'dark web'.

Searches of his vehicle were said to have uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.

Suspected dealer bags and mobiles containing text messages associated with someone allegedly involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.

Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which stretched to the north Down area.

In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities of ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the 'dark web', the court heard.

According to the defence, however, he has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

It was claimed that Kennedy was trying to purchase the weapon to take his own life, a claim rejected by police.

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