Northern Ireland

Man charged with having imitation firearm refused bail

Judge decribes charges as ‘worrying set of offences’

Crown Court trials were moved to Coleraine because Derry's Bishop Street courthouse (pictured) could not facilitate Covid-19 social distancing regulations. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin.
Derry Courthouse

A judge has described charges faced by a 32-year-old man found with an imitation firearm after crashing a motorcycle as “worrying set of offences.”

Ruairi Canning, whose address was given as ‘unknown,’ is charged with having the imitation firearm in public and obstructing police

It is further alleged he drove while disqualified, without insurance and while unfit through drink or drugs.

Offending is alleged to have occurred in the Duke Street area of Derry on 31 March.

A detective constable told a special sitting of Dungannon Magistrates Court the charges could be connected.

He told the court that at around 11am on the morning in question, police attended a single vehicle road traffic collision involving a motorcycle which Canning had been driving.

On arrival members of the public were attempting to prevent him getting back on and officers moved him to the side of the road while awaiting an ambulance.

The smell of alcohol was noted and after being repeatedly asked for his details, he eventually provided a false name and age.

Canning, the court heard, attempted to flee the scene at which point police uncovered an imitation firearm.

When Canning removed his crash helmet, a member of the public identified him and checks on the PSNI database showed he was a disqualified driver and held no insurance for the motorcycle.

He was brought to hospital for treatment and blood samples were taken before he was released into police custody.

During interview he admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance.

He also admitted consuming a cocktail of Ketamine, cocaine and a large amount of vodka.

In relation to the imitation firearm, Canning accepted having this on his person but had no recollection of providing false details to police.

A defence solicitor said his client had taken “a mature approach during interview.”

District Judge Michael Ranaghan described the charges as “a worrying set of offences.”

Bail was refused. Canning is due to appear again by video-link at Derry Magistrates Court on April 15.