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Son of murder victim Kevin McGuigan appears in court charged with having a gun

Murder victim Kevin McGuigan

A SON of murder victim Kevin McGuigan has been remanded in custody charged with possession of a handgun and ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Police arrested 37-year-old Kevin McGuigan Jnr at a hotel on the Antrim Road in Newtownabbey on Sunday.

His arrest came the day after the funeral of his sister Lyndsay McGuigan. The mother-of-one died on June 12 following a lengthy illness.

He appeared in Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear and violence.

Mr McGuigan was also charged with possession of a Class A drug, namely cocaine and possession of a Class C controlled substance, namely temazepam.

He was remanded into custody until July 11.

Mr McGuigan's father Kevin (53) was shot dead in front of his wife Dolores as he opened a security gate at his home in the Short Strand area of east Belfast in August 2015.

The murder of the former republican prisoner was believed to have been in retaliation for the murder of ex-IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison, who was shot dead as he walked to work in the Markets area of south Belfast in May of the same year.

The retaliatory killing of Mr McGuigan caused a political crisis.

Then DUP leader Peter Robinson warned Sinn Féin it would face expulsion from the power-sharing Executive if the IRA was found responsible for the shooting. Sinn Féin denied the suggestion of IRA involvement.

When a senior member of Sinn Féin was arrested in connection with the killing the crisis deepened.

Mr Robinson stepped aside as first minister and other DUP ministers repeatedly resigned, adopting an 'in-out' policy which involved DUP ministers signing into office for only a few hours each week to avoid their portfolios going to rival parties.

The then secretary of state Theresa Villiers announced an independent panel to review paramilitary structures in a bid to end the crisis.

The seven-page report was based on information supplied by the PSNI, MI5 and An Garda Síochána was published in October 2015. The DUP ministers resumed their posts a few days later.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said yesterday: "A 37-year-old man has been charged with offences including possessing a firearm in suspicious circumstances.

"As is normal procedure, the charges with be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service".

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