| 5.3°C Belfast

Machine gun charge Belfast couple want case stopped


Northern Ireland courts

Northern Ireland courts

Northern Ireland courts

A husband and wife accused of possessing a submachine gun at their Belfast home have begun a legal bid to halt the case against them.

Damian and Andrea Black appeared together at the city's Magistrates Court on charges connected to the seizure of a weapon said to be capable of firing 850 rounds a minute.

The Scorpion submachine gun and bullets were allegedly found inside a garage bin at their house on Lagmore Glen, Dunmurry in April last year.

It was recovered as part of a police operation into suspected paramilitary activity, a previous court was told.

Damian Black, a 48-year-old electrician, and Andrea Black, 43, are jointly charged with possessing the weapon and five rounds of ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

They also face a further count of having a firearm designed or adapted so that two or more missiles can be discharged without repeat pressure on the trigger.

Both defendants deny the charges, contending there is no evidence connecting them to the gun.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing their lawyers argued that the case against them should be dismissed before it reaches trial.

Counsel for Damian Black claimed the prosecution was depending on an assertion that he drove past his home without stopping while police were at the property.

Insisting his client then cooperated fully with officers, the barrister told District Judge Fiona Bagnall: "Your Worship should accede to the application to discharge the accused."

Andrea Black's barrister also contended there was insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings to continue against her.

But David Russell, prosecuting, countered that an inference can be drawn against both accused at this stage.

Judge Bagnall reserved her decision on the defence application.

She said: "I want to give consideration to the submissions made and read the authorities."

The two defendants were released on continuing bail to return to court on a later date.

Belfast Telegraph