Weapons accused refused compassionate bail

Bishop Street Court House.
Bishop Street Court House.

A man police believe to be a ‘member of an organised crime gang’ has been refused bail to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Gary Pius McPhillips is currently on remand awaiting trial charged with possessing a sub-machine gun and Yugoslavian hand grenades.

The 30-year-old denies further charges of possessing a prohibited weapon.

The charges relate to seizure of weapons from a house in the city centre on December 20, 2012.

McPhillips, of Hawkin Street, has admitted possessing ecstasy and mephedrone with intent to supply. The drugs seized have a street value of £20,000.

Defence barrister Steven Mooney told Derry Crown Court the compassionate bail application was to allow McPhillips to be released from custody for a maximum of eight hours to attend his grandmothers funeral.

He said the defendants mother would collect him from prison and return him after the funeral mass and interment.

Police opposed the compassionate bail application.

An investigating officer said police fear McPhillips would fail to return to custody if released.

He said police believe the 30-year-old is a member of an organised crime gang with links in Europe.

Defence barrister Mr Mooney said his client could surrender his passport to allay police concerns.

However, Judge Phillip Babington said a passport was not need to enter the Republic of Ireland.

The judge refused the application with ‘some regret and sadness’.

He said the death of a family member is a ‘time of great sadness for a family no matter who they are or where they are’.

He added that McPhillips is charged with serious offences and if he is a member of an organised crime gang it ‘wouldn’t take much for him to stay at large’.

The judge said it is his opinion that someone charged with ‘matters of such seriousness cannot be released even for a short time’.

McPhillips was remanded in custody and will appear in court again on June 27.