Loyalist Mark Harbinson's prints on box where gun found, court told
The fingerprints of loyalist Mark Harbinson were located on a biscuit box that contained a gun, silencer and ammunition, a non-jury trial heard yesterday.
As the case against Harbinson (51) was opened at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecutor said the Makarov pistol was found during a police search of the defendant's home in December 2015.
Harbinson, from Stoneyford Road in Lisburn, denies three offences arising from the search - namely possessing the pistol, silencer and 28 rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances, and possessing both the handgun and the ammunition without holding a firearms certificate.
The court heard that when the self-loading pistol underwent forensic examination it was in "poor condition" and "could not be test-fired".
On the first day of the trial, Judge Gordon Kerr QC was told that a search of property at Sheepwalk Road in Lisburn - at the time the home of the defendant - was conducted on December 21, 2015. During the search of an outbuilding, namely a woodshed, a Family Circle-branded biscuit box was discovered.
A Crown prosecutor said the biscuit box was located on top of a stack of logs and was partially hidden.
The prosecutor said the silencer was "compatible for use" with the handgun, with the pistol itself in poor condition, which included rusted metalwork, rust inside the weapon and a broken main spring.
In the aftermath of the seizure the biscuit box underwent forensic examination and two of Harbinson's fingerprints were found. His right thumbprint was found inside the box, while a print from his left middle finger was lifted from the bottom.
Harbinson was interviewed around two weeks later, telling officers he had lived at Sheepwalk Road for around 10 years, but had been absent for a period from 2009 to 2013.
When asked about the biscuit box, he initially claimed he had never seen it before. When the fingerprint evidence was put to him, Harbinson said someone must have taken it from his house "to stash the item".