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PSNI uniform seized from home by Moffett detectives

Detectives investigating the murder of Bobby Moffett seized a full current police uniform, ball-bearing gun and balaclava from a house in Belfast, a court has heard.

Details were disclosed as a 25-year-old doorman appeared before magistrates in the city charged with having the items for use in terrorism.

Norman Mawhinney, of Ainsworth Avenue, Belfast, is also alleged to have had gun holsters when police officers searched his home.

A detective constable said the items were seized three days after 43-year-old Mr Moffett was gunned down on the Shankill Road last Friday.

He accepted there was no direct connection between the charge and the killing, but said further inquiries were to be carried out.

Opposing bail, the officer claimed Mawhinney's release could have “a whole host of implications” for his safety and the community.

“We are trying to avoid any further trouble within that area of Belfast,” he said.

The officer said a current PSNI issue uniform of hat, jumper and trousers were recovered along with the BB gun and holster.

“I can think of no other reason to have those items within a house other than for a nefarious purpose,” he told the court.

“As far as we are concerned there is a connection with a proscribed organisation and that is our belief what they were for.”

During cross-examination defence barrister Mark Farrell contended the allegation was being made against Mawhinney because police could not charge him with murder or assisting offenders.

“This man is not charged with that, but you go to his house and find a number of items which may or may not be incriminating.”

According to Mawhinney, the uniform was bought at a market for a fancy dress party, while the gun and balaclava were used for hunting and shooting, Mr Farrell said.

He told the detective: “You don't have a shred of evidence to support your proposition that this man would use these items for terrorism purposes other than your intelligence.

“I'm going to suggest to you in the absence of any real evidence this man is guilty of this offence, that bail should be granted.”

District Judge Fiona Bagnall agreed to release the accused on bail to live at an address in the Shankill area.

He was also ordered to report three times a week to police and put up his own £500 surety.

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