Northern Ireland news

Man remanded into custody on firearms, drugs and motoring offences

The man appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court

A 41-year old man has been remanded into custody after appearing in court on firearms, drugs and motoring offences.

Stephen Thompson, from Main Street in Greyabbey is facing 13 charges linked to an incident in east Belfast in February, when a silver Peugeot Coupe crashed into a garden and caused damage to a wall and gate.

Following the collision at Ravenswood Park, the driver made off from the scene, and when the vehicle was searched by police, officers recovered a quantity of drugs and an air pistol.

The father-of-three was arrested on Thursday by officers from the PSNI's Auto Crime Team and was taken to Musgrave Street station for questioning.

Thompson was charged with offences including possessing a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence on February 23, 2019, and possessing both a Class B and a Class C drug with intent to supply. He also faces a number of driving offences.

He appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court, where he confirmed he understood the nature of the charges.

A constable told District Judge Greg McCourt that police were objecting to Thompson being released on bail.

Solicitor Pat Kelly, representing Thompson, spoke of "forensic issues" linked to the car crash which he said "will take a considerable time" being dealt with.

Revealing Thompson is denying all the charges, Mr Kelly said that while his client's fingerprint was found on the car's steering wheel, he admitted "having previous contact with the vehicle, but not on that occasion".

The solicitor also pointed out there was no forensic link between Thompson and the drugs.

Urging the district judge to grant bail, Mr Kelly said Thompson would "adhere to any conditions imposed".

District Judge McCourt responded by branding the offences faced by Thompson as "serious".

He refused to release Thompson, but said he would apply for bail in the High Court. Thompson was then remanded into custody, and told his case will be listed again via video link on August 16.

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