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Man accused of going into west Belfast social club with shotgun claims he was only carrying curtain poles

A 64-year-old man accused of going into a west Belfast social club with a shotgun claims he was only carrying curtain poles, the High Court heard yesterday.

James Patrick Reynolds allegedly brandished the weapon after a row with staff about requesting free drinks, prosecutors said.

Reynolds, of Kinnaird Close in Belfast, denies a charge of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence over the incident in June.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay said he had been barred from the the Lower Falls Social Club but returned later the same day.

She claimed Reynolds asked for an employee by name, producing a shotgun from the waist of his jeans when he appeared.

The accused then walked back out of the club without further incident, the court heard.

Mrs McKay said another patron was brought into the premises before staff locked the doors.

Opposing bail, she submitted: "This was in the afternoon, at a residential area close to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"Children and families were in the area and would have seen the incident."

It was confirmed that a weapon has yet to be recovered.

Defence counsel Sean Mullan argued that nothing has been found because no gun was involved.

He told the court his client had gone home following an argument, picked up broken pieces of curtain pole and returned to the club.

"That's why the complainant may have thought it was a long-barreled shotgun," Mr Mullan said.

"These were two curtain poles taped together."

Reynolds was granted bail on conditions including a ban on contacting the alleged victim.

Judge Patrick Kinney also ordered him to keep out of a defined area as part of his release terms.

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