Society has seen ‘enough guns’ - Judge

People are “fed up” being intimidated by armed gangs, a Derry judge has said.

During a bail application by a man accused of possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances at Derry Magistrate’s Court yesterday, District Judge Barney McElholm said: “People are fed up being intimidated by gangs acting like judge, jury and executioner”.

During an application for bail on behalf of William Martin McDonnell, defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott, said the items found were imitation firearms and a firearm not capable of firing.

He said they could only have been used “as a show of strength or to imtimidate”.

Mr McElholm said: “Why should members of the community be intimidated by people waving guns?” He added that such an act by its very nature was an “act of terrorism”.

He added that society had seen “enough guns”, whether they be imitation or otherwise. Bail was refused.

During a preliminary enquiry, McDonnell (26), of 23 Rinmore Drive, Creggan was charged with possession of an imitation assault rifle, four imitation AK47 assault rifles with magazines, 8mm blank calibre pistols with magazines, a home made AK 47-type assault rifle, five blank revolver rounds, three holsters, five camouflage jackets, balaclavas, belts, black gloves, black shoes, binoculars and a two way radio.

His co-accused Paul McConnell, (44) of 23 Eastway Gardens, was charged with possession of a Chevrolet Epica motor vehicle for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.

The charges relate to an incident in Derry on July 12 last year.

Both men were returned to Belfast Crown Court for arraignment on a date to be fixed.